Monday, 11 April 2016

Bramble leaf miner

As the last of the hazel catkins fade, I noticed another little natural wonder:  the pattern left by the caterpillar of a micromoth called Stigmella aurella or the Bramble Leaf Miner.

Here it is a bit closer.

This example of natural graffiti is caused by the tiny caterpillar hatching and eating its way between the upper and lower layers of the leaf, scoffing all the good stuff in between.

As it eats its way along its self-made burrow, it gets fatter and so the burrow does too.  You can just about see the hairline beginning of the tunnel on the top left of the bramble leaf.

Eventually it is big enough to pupate and, shortly after, it emerges as a tiny moth, as shown in this photo from the Islay Natural History Trust website.  Thank you Islay.

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