Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Chrysomelid leaf miner on western sunflower - Microrhopala vittata

Chrysomelid leaf miner on western sunflower - Microrhopala vittata
near Charleston, Coles County, Illinois, USA
June 6, 2008
Size: Length of larva, 7.5mm
This image shows a chrysomelid larva and (at much lower magnification) the full-depth blotch leaf mine in which it lives and feeds on western sunflower, Helianthus occidentalis, in early June, east-central Illinois, USA. Thanks for any help identifying the insect.

Moved from Microrhopala.

Moved from Leaf Beetles.

Microrhopala sp.?
Hi Terry,

I came across this image while searching for information on the pyraloid blotch miner of sunflower. As Needham et al. (Leaf-Mining Insects, 1928) state that Microrhopala species feed on asters and goldenrods, that genus seems like a good bet to me. The other chrysomelids making blotch mines all seem to be in woody species, although there are some making linear mines in Plantago, Rumex, and Brassicaceae.

Another lead
This website lists "larvae of Microrhapala cyanea (Leaf Miner Beetle)" as feeding on Helianthus. (Figured out that the pyraloid in question is Frechinia helianthiales, incidentally.)

Thanks, Charley
You're right in suggesting that the beetle larva in my photo represents a species of Microrhopala. From the same rearing lot that produced this larva, I reared an adult of the same species, and I posted an image of it here, where it was identified as Microrhopala sp. As to finding out exactly which species it is, however, I have had no luck in tracking down the person who is supposed to be the expert on the group.

That's a shame
(glad to see confirmation of my generic ID, though). I don't suppose you still have the specimen?

Moved from Beetles.