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Phyllocnistis in grape - Phyllocnistis vitegenella

Phyllocnistis in grape - Phyllocnistis vitegenella
Media, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
September 11, 2016
Size: 6 mm

Images of this individual: tag all
Phyllocnistis in grape - Phyllocnistis vitegenella Phyllocnistis in grape - Phyllocnistis vitegenella

Moved from Unidentified Leaf Mines.

I'm going with vitegenella because the mine is superficial/epidermal throughout, despite its being more conspicuous than I'm used to seeing for this species (both in terms of frass and the whitish color of the loosened epidermis). Definitely a confusing one!

On a different note, have you noticed a tendency in any species to oviposit on right or left sides of the leaf? I've always been curious about that.

I haven't
There are definitely tendencies to oviposit at/near the leaf margin or midrib, and to a lesser extent closer to the base or apex, but I'm not aware of any right vs. left preferences.

What else should I have taken a pic of, out of curiosity? In hindsight I should I have taken pic of back of leaf. Also, if I had detached that leaf and reared it, would it survive if I put petiole in water?

As I think you mentioned on your blog post,
the other main thing to look for would be the pupal chamber: vitegenella typically in a fold at the leaf margin; vitifoliella typically flat and away from the margin. I haven't had much luck rearing Phyllocnistis from larvae--if at all possible it's best to wait until it has pupated before picking the leaf. The adult wouldn't actually help much in this case, since wing pattern seems to be variable in the Vitaceae feeders, and apparently there isn't much variation in genitalia in this genus--according to Don Davis one of the best distinguishing characters seems to be the shape of the "cocoon cutter" on the head of the pupa. But until someone revises the genus, the leaf mine characteristics are the best way to distinguish the two grape-feeding species.

If you did pick a grape leaf to rear a miner, it would probably last better if you put it in a ziplock bag, maybe with a slightly damp paper towel. Or if you had a vial big enough to accommodate a loosely rolled-up leaf, that would do the trick.

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