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Leaf Miner


The intricate and convoluted patterns of Leaf Miners are always fascinating. Burrowing and eating under the covers is one way to feel protected until a wasp finds it. Leaf Miners can be found among moth, fly and beetle larvae. The consensus so far is that this one is a fly in the family Agromyzidae.


Forest, Finca Argovia, Ruta de Cafe, Soconusco area of southern Chiapas, Mexico. About 1 hour from Tapachula.

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LaurenZarate 5 years ago

Great John! Can't wait!

John La Salle
John La Salle 5 years ago

With the backlighting you can also often see the miner larva and pupae, and sometimes parasitoid pupae - which can be quite distinctive. Some of them have black pupae, and they are quite easy to spot with the light behind them.

LaurenZarate 5 years ago

Charley, Thank you for what you said about backlighting the leaves to better see the frass pattern. I'll start backlighting with a flashlight :)

LaurenZarate 5 years ago

Thank you Charley and John. Leaf Miner's patterns are so interesting! I was reading that the mine patterns are usually species specific. There are hundreds of species and it would be amazing to create a database matching species with larval feeding patterns.

John La Salle
John La Salle 5 years ago

I would agree with Charley that it is probably an agromyzid. It is an herbaceous plant for one thing (gross over-generalization, but leafminers that look like this on herbaceous plants tend to be agromyzids, and those on trees and woody plants tend to be moths).

Charley Eiseman
Charley Eiseman 5 years ago

This one was probably made by a fly (Agromyzidae), but a backlit photo that shows the frass pattern more clearly might change my mind--it could also be a moth of some sort.

Spotted by

Chiapas, Mexico

Spotted on Nov 21, 2015
Submitted on Mar 20, 2016


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