New target species - Leafminers

We haven't had a new target species for a while, and with Cheilosa fasciata, Millium effusum, and Zimmermannia liebwerdella leaving the target list soon I thought I'd add a few new ones. Leafminers are a very under-observed group in Germany, so those might be a good fit for
our project. Here are a few fairly distinctive ones to start with:

    This species mines on Geranium sp. (I've seen them most on G. molle), here's a link with more information:

    This species can often be found on Ranunculus, Anemone, and Ficaria verna, and can be distinguished from the similar Phytomyza ranunculivora through; "frass grains fine, separated by less than their diameter, often also fusing into pearl strings". Here's a link with more information:

if you make any leafmine observations (some of you do already), I would really Appreciate it if you add them the Leafminers of Europe project on iNat.

Happy iNatting, and good luck finding some leafmines,
Alexis (@alexis_orion)

Posted by alexis_orion alexis_orion, May 12, 2020 06:11


For those of you who haven't seen already, our project just passed 100 observations a few day ago! It's been amazing to see this project grow so much since I started it almost a year ago. Thank you to @gerrit_oehm for making an impressive 35 observations in the challenge, and @agujaceratops who's found the most species so far.

Posted by alexis_orion over 1 year ago (Flag)

I added my miners to the project. I am optimistic I can add some more in the following weeks - miners, galls etc have been my new focus since a while. Would be great if some more observations could also be added to my project, if they qualify:

Last weekend, on a walk through the forest, I did not reach my aimed end point, because it took too much time to investigate the leaves right at the beginning of my tour already :-D
These observations are all from the same little tree (maybe 1,5 m high):

it's a new world to discover!

Posted by carnifex over 1 year ago (Flag)

Oh no, I missed this post for over two weeks :-( ... but better later than never:

hooray, yes, it is definitely time for new target species, and to celebrate the 100th species!

I can relate very much with @carnifex regarding "how far will I even get today". The world gets wider and wider the more one looks at all those tiny details everywhere.

Posted by mobbini over 1 year ago (Flag)

@carnifex I was hit by an idea yesterday after I added some observations to Don't know if it is technical possible to construct it in the project. I have sometimes observations with one plant and more than one specific interactor. Currently I can only link one plant observation with one animal observation. But I do not want to duplicate the plant observation in order to add the other animal link, as this would not give sense in the general iNat use I guess. But: would it be possible to add further optional categories like "2nd Name of Associated Animal", "2nd Plant-Animal Interactions: Link to associated observations:" and so on? It would be really cool if the code would allow something like "add another" but I assume without checking that this is not implemented. So that the number of further associations must be written hard in the project queries. Don't know what a good number of possible further links would be, to make the list not to long ...

Posted by mobbini over 1 year ago (Flag)
Posted by mobbini over 1 year ago (Flag)

... actually it maybe would just be enough to have the possibility to add/link additional observations to one plant, as the details of the interaction can be given in the additional associated animal observation ...

Posted by mobbini over 1 year ago (Flag)

I added a few (Ok, maybe quite a few) to @carnifex's project, but I had misunderstood which fields to add to which observations at first so there might be a few plants with the "Associated plant" field. You're welcome to delete the unnecessary fields from those if you come across them.

Posted by alexis_orion over 1 year ago (Flag)

oh, aeh, me the same ...

Posted by mobbini over 1 year ago (Flag)

If I find time I will go through them :-)

I raised the problem with the observation fields once in the iNat-forum, but I don't think there will be a solution other than using different fields for the same thing. I will see if I can add a secondary link-field

Posted by carnifex over 1 year ago (Flag)

We find pollinators to be the least-added interaction type so far - which is understandable, as they don't stay long at their partner plant and also these are mainly bees, which are very hard to ID based on photos. So one iNat-challenge (throughout the rest of the flowering season) might be to document specific flower visitors (e.g. oligolectic bees), associated a narrow range of plant species. Campanula, Dipsacaceae (Scabiosa, Knautia) and Boraginaceae might be worth looking at.

@mobbini: I would not consider Pyrrhocoris apterus to be electable for my project - they are not associated with any plant and basically everywhere ;-)

Posted by carnifex over 1 year ago (Flag)

@carnifex ah, I thought that P. apterus are strongly addicted to Tilia, that's why I added them. But I can of course take them out again, or in general, feel of course free to dis-add any of the species. :-)

Posted by mobbini over 1 year ago (Flag)

Maybe you confused them with Oxycarenus lavaterae?
See text below the observation --> (already in the project)

Posted by carnifex over 1 year ago (Flag)

oh, but for P. apterus it is the same. German wikipedia says "Wichtigste Nahrungsquelle der Art in Europa sind Samen von Linden-Arten (Tilia spp.)"

Posted by mobbini over 1 year ago (Flag)

Actually I was not aware of this. I find them in large numbers on an urban waste land next door, where no Lime trees or Mallows grow so far. There might be some small Robinia trees sprouting, but these would be tiny ones. I also find them sometimes in my garden or house, and here there are no Lime trees or mallows growing. Only in one neighbors garden there is a robinia tree. Maybe they come from there, because as they cannot fly they must live somewhere nearby.
So you can leave the species in the project and I learned new 🙂

Posted by carnifex over 1 year ago (Flag)

Interesting that none of the mentioned host plants is in the areas you stumble upon them. Maybe this can go for another version of the game: find P. apterus with none of its wide spectrum of food plants nearby :-D

Of course in Leipzig - word descends from some or other language meaning "Linden-Ort" - it is hard to find a place where no Tilia is nearby, but my impression is also that they do not need Tilia absolutely, but dwell without it fine as well :-) Though I might see the biggest aggregations always at Tilia trees, not sure though.

Posted by mobbini over 1 year ago (Flag)

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