2020 Eagle Hill Institute Online Natural History Seminars: July 25, August 1, August 8, August 22 and August 29 | 7:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M EDT, 6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M. CDT
Leaf and stem miners are insect larvae that feed within the tissues of plants for at least part of their development, forming externally visible feeding patterns (mines). In North America, they include well over 2000 species of moths, flies, beetles, and sawflies. They tend to be highly host-specific, feeding on one or a few closely related plant genera, and each miner leaves a species-specific pattern as it feeds. It is therefore generally possible to identify these insects by noting the host plant and studying the mine characteristics. This course will introduce students to the identification and biology of leaf and stem miners through five online video classes, which will complement independent work done by participants between meetings. The first session will include a slide show/lecture providing an introduction to leaf and stem mining and other modes of herbivory; an overview of mine classification; and a discussion of methods for photographing, collecting, and rearing miners. In between classes, participants will photograph and/or collect leaf and stem mines and attempt to identify them using the hostplant-based keys in Leafminers of North America. At each subsequent meeting, we will discuss what people have found, working through the keys together for any mines that have caused difficulty. This will ideally be done by sharing digital photographs taken ahead of time, but for some specimens live sharing via webcam may be possible. Shortly after each meeting, the instructor will provide a list of relevant passages in Leafminers of North America to read that will reinforce what we have covered together.