Ecological and biological aspects of a leaf miner on Erythroxylum tortuosum (Mart.) (Erythroxylaceae) in a Cerrado fragment in Southeastern Brazil


  • Marcos Nakamura Ishino
  • Paula Roberta De Sibio
  • Marcelo N. Rossi


Ecological and biological features of a lepidopterous leaf miner and its host plant, Erythroxylum tortuosum (Erythroxylaceae), were studied in a Brazilian Cerrado fragment. Foraging traits, the temporal emergence pattern of the leaf miners and the morphology and anatomy of the mines were described. The leaf miner was identified as an Agnippe (Chambers) (Gelechiidae) species; the mines were characterized as blotch mines because the larva moved forward and backward in all directions within the mines while feeding. The pupal stage remained in a darkened region of the leaf, under which a pair of semicircular openings were observed on the abaxial external leaf surface. The openings consisted of a resistant, thick layer of silk. A delicate network of silk spun by the larvae was also observed within the mines. On average, the area of mines and the percentage of mined area of leaves reached maximums of 83.174 mm2 and 2.750%, respectively. The caterpillars consumed the palisade parenchyma and some small veins. Cells with phenolic compounds near mine cavities were also observed. The mined and unmined leaves had a single-layered epidermis, with mucilaginous cells on the adaxial surface, and papillary cells and stomata on the abaxial surface. Finally, the temporal emergence of the leaf miner and its parasitoids (and their identification) are presented.