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Clover Leaf Miner [Porphyrosela? minuta??] ID Request - Porphyrosela minuta

Clover Leaf Miner [Porphyrosela? minuta??] ID Request - Porphyrosela minuta
Herring Run Watershed, Baltimore City County, Maryland, USA
August 13, 2012
I see user Greg Dodge has already started the discussion about what agent made mines like these in White Clover. I applaud his efforts to rear some as I am in no position to do that at the moment. From what little I could find online suggests the mines look much more like the ones created by the South American cousin (=minuta) of our North American native moth [=desmodiella) in the genus, Porphyrosela. I see that Greg also flirted with the same notion.

[See photo on:]

In addition to what has already been discussed regarding these leaf mines I would like to add the following comments/anecdotes:

1. Until this year I do not recall encountering such incredibly conspicuous leaf mines on such a common plant given how much attention I pay to its flowers in my searches for pollinators, especially bees.

2. And factoring in how incredibly common these mines were on the White Clover plants growing only a couple feet from the back door of my house it seems fairly unlikely that I simply overlooked them previously, especially considering I've been photo-documenting what lives in my watershed for the past 6-7 years.

Not sure if any of this helps but I look forward to learning more about what made these.

Any thoughts/comments?

Images of this individual: tag all
Clover Leaf Miner [Porphyrosela? minuta??] ID Request - Porphyrosela minuta Clover Leaf Miner [Porphyrosela? minuta??] ID Request - Porphyrosela minuta

Moved from Porphyrosela.
See my comment here.

Moved from ID Request.

Don Davis
We know from the earlier rearing that this is a Porphyrosela; we just don't know which one. The fact that no one (including Thomas, who paid close attention to clover in previous years) noticed the conspicuous larval evidence of this insect before this year suggests that it is a recent introduction from outside the USA, and the host plant and form of the leaf mine suggest that the moth is P. minuta, as shown in the paper linked above.

Don Davis is the person who would be most able to assess the identity of this moth, were he to be provided with specimens. Therefore, it would be very good for anyone who sees these leaf mines to collect some of them into a plastic, non-breakable bottle and send them to Don.

Looking forward to the new season --
I will try to do just that.

Thanks for posting this
I think all that can be said at this point is that you seem to have found the same species Greg found - and that we know a little more about its geographic range now. The miners normally found in clovers are agromyzids, but their mines don't look like this and your close-up seems to show moth larvae rather than fly larvae. The only other insect that I know of that has been recorded mining Trifolium in North America is Aristotelia roseosuffusella in red clover (T. pratense). I have found no description of that mine, but Busck (in 1903) said the moth was common all over the continent. That species is the subject of some confusion, since when Clemens described it he said it fed in the fruit panicles of sumac. Anyway, please do try to raise these if you find them again next year.

Have these been assigned one? The guide page doesn't say.

This species has not yet been properly documented in North America by voucher specimens, so it hasn't made the list. Presumably it will be something like 0843.1...


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