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Spleenwort fern leafminer - Phytoliriomyza flavopleura

By N A Martin (2017)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Order:
Diptera
Family:
Agromyzidae
Scientific Name:
Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Watt, 1923)
  • Top view of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Spleenwort fern leafminer
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Synonyms

Agromyza flavopleura Watt, 1932
Phytobia flavopleura (Watt, 1923)
Agromyza flavopleura var. casta Watt, 1923

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Biostatus and Distribution

This endemic fly is found throughout New Zealand where its fern host plants grow. It appears to be restricted to native ecosystems. It is present in native reserves in cities.

Conservation status: Widespread, not threatened.

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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

The fly breeds all year. There is an autumn- winter generation and several generations in the spring and summer.

Adult fly
The flies are small, about 3 mm long, similar to the size of vinegar flies, Drosophila species, that are seen around rotting fruit. The body is black with yellow areas on the sides of the thorax (the middle part of the body to which the legs and wings are attached). They also have a yellow area between the eyes and short yellow antennae. It is a typical fly, having one pair of wings. The hind pair of wings is reduced to two small knobs, or halteres, which help the fly to balance during flight. The male has rounded black external genitalia at the end of the abdomen, while the female has a slender end containing an ovipositor. The ovipositor is used to make holes in young fern fronds into which eggs are laid. Females of other species of this kind of leaf-mining fly also make holes with their ovipositor and feed on the leaf sap. This has not been observed for the Spleenwort fern leafminer.

Eggs and larvae
Single eggs are inserted into young fern fronds. Newly hatched larvae tunnel into fern fronds making mines that are visible on the upper side. Larvae feed on the internal cells of the fern frond. They have a single black jaw that is moved from side-to-side, scraping the plant cells at the head of the mine. The plant cells are ingested and the dark green faeces excreted into the mine behind it, generally in the centre of the mine. The larva moults (changes skin) as it gets larger. There are three larval stages (instars). A fully grown larva is about 3 mm long.

The mine starts near the edge of the fern frond and meanders over the frond. The mine is narrow at first, gradually widening and in some host plants it can form a blotch. The form of the mine varies with fern species. In some the ferns such as Asplenium oblongifolium the larva can tunnel down the ‘stalk’ to another pinna (blade). Some larvae on Blechnum fluviatile appear to leave one pinna and cut their way into another.

Pupa
When fully grown, the larva makes a small area on the underside of the frond thin. It removes all the tissues under the epidermis (skin). The larva pupates inside its larval skin, which turns brown and hard. This structure is called a puparium. The puparium has a pair of stigmata (organs for breathing) at each end of the body. The front, anterior, pair of stigmata stick through the skin of the mine. After several weeks, the eyes and bristles of the adult fly can be seen through the skin of the puparium.

Fly emergence
When ready to emerge, part of the head, just above the antennae, balloons out. This structure, the ptilinum, pushes the front of the pupa open. There is a line of weakness between the top and bottom halves of the first three and a half segments that splits allowing the top and bottom to open up. This flap pushes up and tears the skin, epidermis, of the fern frond. After the fly has crawled out, the ptilinum retracts into the head, the wings expand, and the body hardens. Over the next 12 hours the fly acquires its full body colour.

It is not known how the male and females of this species find each other for mating.

  • Top view of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of a dead adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of a dead adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae) make a mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the black skelton and toothed mandible used to scrape the plant tissue.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae) make a mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the black skelton and toothed mandible used to scrape the plant tissue. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium bulbiferum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium bulbiferum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Microsorum pustulatum (Polypodiaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Microsorum pustulatum (Polypodiaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae) exposed in mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the black skelton and toothed mandible used to scrape the plant tissue; pointed stigmata (breathing tubes) can be seen at the front and rear.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae) exposed in mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the black skelton and toothed mandible used to scrape the plant tissue; pointed stigmata (breathing tubes) can be seen at the front and rear. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Front (anterior) end of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), showing through broken skin of mine in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two bstigmata (breathing tubes) shown by white arrows.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Front (anterior) end of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), showing through broken skin of mine in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two bstigmata (breathing tubes) shown by white arrows. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Front (anterior) end of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), showing through broken skin of mine in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two black stigmata (breathing tubes).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Front (anterior) end of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), showing through broken skin of mine in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two black stigmata (breathing tubes). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Front (anterior) end of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), showing through broken skin of mine in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two black stigmata (breathing tubes).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Front (anterior) end of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), showing through broken skin of mine in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two black stigmata (breathing tubes). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), exposed in mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two pairs of stigmata (breathing tubes) and the dark colour of the head end and the body hairs showing through the puparium.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), exposed in mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two pairs of stigmata (breathing tubes) and the dark colour of the head end and the body hairs showing through the puparium. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), dissected from a mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the dark wings and legs showing through the puparium.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), dissected from a mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the dark wings and legs showing through the puparium. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Opening at front end of a puparium though which an adult fly of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), emerged. The puparium is in a mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Opening at front end of a puparium though which an adult fly of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), emerged. The puparium is in a mine in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Recognition

These small black and yellow flies require expert knowledge for identification. However, the species can be detected and identified by its leaf mines. This is the only leaf miner known on its fern host plants, spleenworts (Asplenium species), Microsorum species, one species of Blechnum and one species of Grammitis (see Host Plants for more photographs of mines in host plants).

  • Top view of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of a dead adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of a dead adult male spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium polyodon (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium polyodon (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Natural Enemies

Predators
There are no reports of predators of the flies, but it is likely that they are preyed upon by birds, spiders, and predatory insects. Some female wasp parasitoids feed on leaf miner fly larvae as well as parasitising fly larvae.

Parasitoids
Two species of parasitoids have been reared from the spleenwort fern leaf miner. A small wasp, Opius species (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) lays an egg in a fly larva, but does not kill its host until it has pupated. The second species is a tiny wasp, Chrysonotomyia species (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). This species is active in the winter and females lays several eggs in the mine by a fly larva. The larva is probably anaesthetised by the wasp first. This parasitoid can be recognised by the presence of groups of white larvae, or dark grey pupae in the mine by a dead larva or its empty skin. The adult wasps usually chew several holes in the leaf mine walls through which they escape.

Some leaf mines are very short and have a small round exit hole. This is evidence of a third parasitoid of this fly.

  • Pupae of a tiny wasp parasitoid, Chrysonotomyia sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), of a larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), in a leaf mines in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupae of a tiny wasp parasitoid, Chrysonotomyia sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), of a larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), in a leaf mines in a frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper side of a tiny wasp parasitoid, Chrysonotomyia sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), of a larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of a tiny wasp parasitoid, Chrysonotomyia sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), of a larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a tiny wasp parasitoid, Chrysonotomyia sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), of a larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a tiny wasp parasitoid, Chrysonotomyia sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), of a larva of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A short leaf mine in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). The fly larva was probably parasitised; there is a tiny exit hole in the mine.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    A short leaf mine in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). The fly larva was probably parasitised; there is a tiny exit hole in the mine. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

This is the only leaf miner known on its host fern plants, spleenworts (Asplenium species), Microsorum species, one species of Blechnum and one species of Grammitis. There is a report of Blechnum filiforme (A. Cunn.) Ettingshausen being a host plant, but this has not been substantialted.

The adult female fly makes small punctures in young fern fronds for egg-laying and possibly for feeding. The larva burrows through the leaf making mines that are visible from the upper side of the frond. The mine starts near the edge of the fern frond and meanders over the frond. The mine is narrow at first, gradually widening and in some host plants it can form a blotch. The form of the mine varies with fern species. In some ferns such as Asplenium oblongifolium the larva can tunnel down the ‘stalk’ to another pinna (blade). Larvae on Blechnum fluviatile appear to leave one pinna and cut their way into another.

Table: Host plants of the Spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae) from Plant-SyNZ database (14 March 2017). The reliability score shows the quality of evidence for the host association (1-10, 10=high).
Common Name(s)Scientific NameFamilyReliability IndexBiostatus
Ground spleenwortAsplenium appendiculatum (Labill.) C. PreslAspleniaceae10non-endemic
Hen and chickens fern, Hen and chickens, Mother spleenwort, Manamana, Mauku, Mouki, Maku, Moku, MoukuAsplenium bulbiferum G.Forst.Aspleniaceae10endemic
Hanging spleenwort, Drooping spleenwort, Weeping spleenwort, Makawe o Raukatauri, Makawe, Ngā makawe-o-raukatauri, Pohutukawa, Raukatauri, Whiri-o-RaukatauriAsplenium flaccidum G.Forst.Aspleniaceae9non-endemic
Shining spleenwort, Huruhuruwhenua, Parenako, Paretao, Pānako, Paranako, Paretao, Urūru whenuaAsplenium oblongifolium ColensoAspleniaceae10endemic
Sickle spleenwort, Petako, PeretaoAsplenium polyodon G.Forst.Aspleniaceae7non-endemic
Creek fern, Ray water fern, Kiwakkiwa, Kiwikiwi, KawakawaBlechnum fluviatile (R.Br.) Lowe ex SalomonBlechnaceae10non-endemic
Hounds tongue, Hound's tongue fern, Strap fern, kōwaowao, pāraharaha, kōwaowao, Maratata, Pāraha, pāraharaha, RaumangaMicrosorum pustulatum (G.Forst.) Copel.Polypodiaceae10non-endemic
Fragrant fern, Mokimoki, MokiMicrosorum scandens (G. Forst.) TindalePolypodiaceae10non-endemic
Common strap fernNotogrammitis billardierei (Willd.) ParrisPolypodiaceae7non-endemic
  • Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium bulbiferum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium bulbiferum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • A short leaf mine in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). The fly larva was probably parasitised; there is a tiny exit hole in the mine.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    A short leaf mine in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). The fly larva was probably parasitised; there is a tiny exit hole in the mine. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium polyodon (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Asplenium polyodon (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper side of frond of Microsorum pustulatum (Polypodiaceae) with leaf mines made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of frond of Microsorum pustulatum (Polypodiaceae) with leaf mines made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of frond of Microsorum pustulatum (Polypodiaceae) with leaf mines made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), note the dark area where there is a fly puparium.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of frond of Microsorum pustulatum (Polypodiaceae) with leaf mines made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), note the dark area where there is a fly puparium. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in fronds of Microsorum scandens (Polypodiaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in fronds of Microsorum scandens (Polypodiaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Additional Information

The spleenwort fern leafminer appears to be restricted to native ecosystems or areas where its host plants have persisted after much of the other original vegetation has been removed. It may be a good indicator of the history of an area. It is not known how readily it will colonise newly restored areas of native vegetation that are not connected to remnants of the original native forest.

Even though populations tend to be low, it should be easy to survey populations of the fly, because the mines are on the upper side of the fern fronds and last for a long time after the fly has gone.

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Information Sources

Plant-SyNZ: Invertebrate herbivore-host plant association database. plant-synz.landcareresearch.co.nz/.

Spencer KA 1976. The Agromyzidae of New Zealand (Insecta: Diptera). Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 6(2): 153-211.

Watt MN 1923. The leaf-mining insects of New Zealand: part III - species belonging to the genus Agromyza (Fallen) and Phytomyza (Fallen). Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 54: 465-489.

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Acknowledgements

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

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Other Images

  • Leaf mine in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), puparia in mine (brown area top left).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mine in frond of Asplenium appendiculatum (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), puparia in mine (brown area top left). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper and lower view of a leaf mine in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). The fly larva died while still small. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Upper and lower view of a leaf mine in frond of Blechnum fluviatile (Blechnaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). The fly larva died while still small. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Front (anterior) end of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), showing through broken skin of mine in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two stigmata (breathing tubes).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Front (anterior) end of a puparium of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae), showing through broken skin of mine in frond of Asplenium oblongifolium (Aspleniaceae), note the two stigmata (breathing tubes). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mine in underside of frond of Asplenium polyodon (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Can you see where a pupa once was? Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mine in underside of frond of Asplenium polyodon (Aspleniaceae) made by larvae of spleenwort fern leafminer, Phytoliriomyza flavopleura (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Can you see where a pupa once was? Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Suggested Citation

Martin NA. 2017. Spleenwort fern leafminer - Phytoliriomyza flavopleura. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 80. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

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