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Photo#1474237
Grass culm borer - Thrypticus

Grass culm borer - Thrypticus
Chattahoochie Park, Winneshiek County, Iowa, USA
December 4, 2017
Overwintering inside culms of Virginia wild rye, Elymus virginicus, in my area are phytophagous larvae with a lovely warm yellow color that I believe to be Thrypticus sp.:


These culms are naturally hollow, but typically a Thrypticus larva inside a culm seems to be associated with an accumulation of fibrous material near where the larva is dwelling. I suspect the larva produces this as it feeds. Though this feeding sign is not typically something that could quite be called mining, I have found at least a couple examples so far in which a larva clearly traveled just beneath the interior lining of the culm for a while, producing an interior stem mine. One of those examples is shown here, in order to demonstrate what sorts of things Thrypticus larvae are up to (at least sometimes) inside their stem-homes.

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