Random Insect: Basswood leaf miner

Basswood leaf miner (Baliosus nervosus, Chrysomelidae) photographed 04/25/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Last week I spent a little time digging through the leaf litter in a nearby mesic southern forest.  I found quite a few spiders and insects, but one in particular caught my attention.  I noticed a number of shiny gold beetles, which I later identified as basswood leaf miners (Baliosus nervosus, Chrysomelidae).

Basswood leaf miner (Baliosus nervosus, Chrysomelidae) photographed 04/25/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

These beetles have larvae that feed primarily on American basswood trees (Tilia americana, Tiliaceae), but they have been found feeding on trees in seven other families (Clark et al. 2004).  Larvae bore through leaves, stuffing themselves with plant material until they pupate and subsequently emerge as adults.  These are only one of many insects that attack American basswoods, but none of them are considered to be significant pests of healthy trees (Sullivan 1994).

Literature cited:

Clark, S.M., D.G. LeDoux, T.N. Seeno, E.G. Riley, A.J. Gilbert and J.M. Sullivan. 2004. Host plants of leaf beetle species occurring in the United States and Canada (Coleoptera: Megalopodidae, Orsodacnidae, Chrysomelidae exclusive of Bruchinae). Coleopterists Society, Special Publication no. 2, 476 pp

Sullivan, Janet. 1994. Tilia americana. In: Fire Effects Information System.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.


About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Random Insect: Basswood leaf miner

  1. Jim Martin says:

    …does the literature say how they overwinter?


  2. Jeremy Sell says:

    My journal access is currently limited, but I think this paper might hold the answer.

    Since I found numerous adults in April, I suspect they overwinter as adults or pupae, probably near or in the ground. I read that some other leaf miners overwinter within or on fallen leaves, probably as pupae. If that is true of this species, it would explain why so many adults were crawling around in leaf litter.


  3. Pingback: Plant-Insect Interaction: Basswood leaf mining beetles on an American basswood | The Life of Your Time

  4. Pingback: Random Insect: Leaf mining hispine beetle | The Life of Your Time

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