|Phyllonorycter blancadella leafmine on Wild Service
|Phyllonorycter blancardella larva feeding within the same mine
Over the autumn I collected a handful of Phyllonorycter leafmines containing larvae to attempt to rear into adult moths. Phyllonorycters feed, pupate and emerge from the small mines they create, making them an easy genus to rear. I simply place the leaf containing the leafmine into a sealed pot, label the species and/or plant it was found on and set it aside in a cool, dark place. Ideally most will emerge next spring, but there is always the chance of early emergences in warmer indoor temperatures.
Whether or not the end result will be a fully formed adult moth is another matter altogether. Many caterpillars will have been parasitised by another insect of some kind during their lifetime, and it's just a likely that a parasitic wasp will emerge from the leafmine.
This tiny wasp emerged from a Phyllonorycter coryli leafmine a couple of days ago - it would have hatched in the mine alongside the caterpillar, fed on it and eventually pupated in its own cocoon.
|A parasitic wasp (possibly genus Pediobius) reared from a Phyllonorycter coryli leafmine