Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.

 

Leaf Miner

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Leaf Miner leaves a trail of frass (fancy word for insect poop) on the mine floor - by Larry Halverson
 

It is hard to believe that there are creatures so small that they can live and grow between the upper and lower leaf surface and yet be visible to the human eye.

These wormlike animals are larva of beetles, flies, sawflies and moths known as leaf miners. The miners are flat and legless with a wedge shaped head that works well at separating the leaf’s two epidermal layers. The twisting mines are made as the larva excavates the leaf tissues with it sharp jaws. Leaf miners remain in the leaf until they are fully grown and then transform into winged adults and fly away. You can see in the photo the pint point start where the egg hatched and as it grows the mine gets progressively wider. People that are familiar with leaf miners can identify the type of insect by the mine pattern.