Plant-Insect Interaction: Goldenrod leaf miner on goldenrod

Old field in secondary succession. Filled primarily with asters including several species of goldenrod (Solidago sp., Asteraceae). Photographed 09/28/2012 near Clayton Michigan.

Abandoned fields overtaken by secondary succession aren’t uncommon here in southern Michigan. They’re often filled with a variety of asters that flower in late summer and early autumn, especially several species of goldenrod (Solidago spp., Asteraceae). These plants host a number of insects that live in and feed on them, including goldenrod leaf miners (ColeopteraChrysomelidaeMicrorhopala vittata).

Goldenrod leaf miners (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Microrhopala vittata) on a goldenrod (Solidago sp., Asteraceae). Photographed 09/28/2012 near Clayton Michigan.

These native beetles are abundant in this area and seem most common among the leaf bunch galls created by other insects. The galls provide dark hiding places where the beetles can feed in peace.

Goldenrod leaf miner (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Microrhopala vittata) photographed 09/28/2012 near Clayton Michigan.

With their high population density, however, these insects can also be found elsewhere on the plants. It’s hard to walk among the goldenrod here and not notice them.

Goldenrod leaf miner (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Microrhopala vittata) on a goldenrod (Solidago sp., Asteraceae). Photographed 09/28/2012 near Clayton Michigan.

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About Jeremy Sell

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

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