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Mine in grass leaf - Elachista

Mine in grass leaf - Elachista
Sitka County, Alaska, USA
April 25, 2015
Grass is probably Calamagrostis nutkaensis. I did collect this and hopefully will be able to see what it turns in to.

Images of this individual: tag all
Mine in grass leaf - Elachista Mine in grass leaf - Elachista Leaf miner pupa Mine in grass leaf


Moved from Elachista.


Probably Elachista
If you succeed in rearing it, you will definitely need to send the specimen to a specialist to get a species ID. There are many northern species with unknown host plants. The only lepidopteran leafminer recorded from Calamagrostis is Elachista subalbidella, which isn't known from Alaska (but it is Holarctic, and is recorded from Yukon).

I appreciate the suggestion - any tips (or resource suggestions) for increasing the chances of successful rearing (of this and other collected young insects)?

To keep the grass leaf from drying out...
I would put it in a small ziploc-type bag with a folded-up, slightly damp paper towel. That's what I did with this sedge-mining Elachista that I successfully reared recently. After it pupates, the pupa should be transferred to a vial or small jar, because a moth emerging in a plastic bag will rub off a lot of its scales.

Should I keep the moist paper towel with the pupa in the closed vial? It dropped out of the leaf and silked itself to the paper towel, but I could let it dry out, probably. Thanks!

You can definitely let the paper towel dry out some, to keep it from getting moldy. Best not to let it dry out completely, because you want a little humidity in there to keep the pupa happy, but you can always add a drop of water later if it gets too dry. It looks like the larva hasn't quite pupated yet, and I'm not quite sure from this photo whether it's the moth or a parasitoid, but I guess it must be the moth since I don't see a dead larva in the leaf. If you still have the leaf, it's a good idea to press it so it can be examined later.

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