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Sphaeroderma rubidum (Graells, 1858)
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the larva almost fills the mine

Food Plant:Various Asteraceae, especially Centaurea spp. (Knapweeds), Cirsium spp. (Thistles), Serratula tinctoria (Saw-wort), Carduus pycnocephalus (Italian Thistle), Onopordum acanthium (Scotch Thistle), Carthamus spp. (Safflower), Arctium spp. Burdocks), Cynara cardunculus (Artichoke Thistle). Also on trees e.g. Corylus (Hazel)

Eggs: laid singly on the underside of leaves

Mine: end of Luly - mid November

Notes: The young larvae mine directly into a leaf vein, but later instars make a long full depth gallery, with little frass. The larva is large and is almost the same width as the gallery (as shown). The larva leaves the mine to pupate in the autumn, which distinguishes it from S.testaceum, which hibernates in the leaf. This is a common and widespread species throughout England, Wales, southern Scotland and Ireland.

Data: x.2008, Angelsey Abbey, Cambs, VC29

Image:© Ian Barton

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