Thanks to a small grant from CEDaR Environmental Recorders Group I was to spend a bit more time than usual looking at leaf mines in Northern Ireland. One of my search areas, which I have rarely visited, was Ormeau Park, Belfast (Co Down) not very distant, but an area with many mature trees and a good under-storey.
A gentle stroll into the park on 22nd July 2022 quickly revealed a number of common species on beech and hazel. A mature Norway maple (Acer platanoides) then drew my attention. In Ireland I have been looking in vain for “samara miners” for over six years. I have seen two species with ease in France so my eye is “in”. A number of samaras were on the ground, I was totally flabbergasted to immediately find two mined samaras. The mines were of Etainia sericopeza (field maple and sycamore have different miners).
The egg is laid on the wing of the samara, the larva then mines a thin gallery towards and into the seed. Depending on the age of the samara the mines can be obvious or more cryptic.
On 23rd July I could not believe my luck in finding another mined samara, this time at Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast (Co Antrim).
Dave Allen July 2022