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Horse chestnut leaf miner

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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 08:56   #1
black52bird
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Horse chestnut leaf miner

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Sadly I have just added a new species to my moth list - a previously unidentified micro.....it's the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner (Cameraria ohridella) from the Gracillariidae. I had caught a number of these tiny (c. 4-5 mm) micros but couldn't find them anywhere. However, an article in this weekend's Telegraph on the fact that it is spreading throughout the UK, prompted me to do a web search...there are more than 150 pages on Google, the most accessible and useful of which was:
www.ouchb.cas.cz/~natur/cameraria
because it gave good factual information and very nice photos of adults, larvae, pupa and damage.

I had realised that our Horse Chestnut trees had been sick for a few years, as they had been losing their leaves in July, retaining just a few curled-up brown ones. Now I understand the cause. The moth was discovered in the endemic Horse Chestnut forest of southern Macedonia in 1985 (hence its name ohridella, from Ohrid, the town and lake) and it has spread across Europe since, apparently arriving in the UK in 2002, and it is now rapidly advancing northwards. So, moth-friends, if you want to tick a new species, look out for its arrival at a conker tree near you, but witness the sad consequences..... your trees won't look so pretty for most of the summer. And there is a danger that its presence year after year will weaken the trees as they are not able to photosynthesize enough to keep up normal growth, although studies show that the survival is not really affected, despite the fact that there is a reduction in conker quality but not quality.

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David
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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 13:40   #2
MikeWall
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Originally Posted by black52bird
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Sadly I have just added a new species to my moth list - a previously unidentified micro.....it's the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner (Cameraria ohridella) from the Gracillariidae.

<snip>
David et al,

This moth is indeed spreading rapidly, although has (yet) to reach my part of Hants...it's only 10 miles down the road though in Fleet. It has turned up in the Isle of Wight and Norfolk, is in plague proportions in Surrey (I saw an avenue of Horse Chestnuts near Barnes almost defoliated) so I doubt if there's much hope it can be contained. Only saving grace is that Horse Chestnut isn't a native of Britain, supports comparatively little wildlife and if this species goes, then it might prompt its replacement by something more indigenous. And the playing of conkers seems to be banned in many schools now...too violent!

I have a pic of this pretty gracillariid at http://www.bike2nature.co.uk/moths/moth_0366a.htm

Mike
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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 14:02   #3
black52bird
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death of horse chestnuts

Mike

Thanks for the superb photo - yet another charming alien invader among so many others (e.g. Grey Squirrel, Japanese Knotweed.....).

From what IU've read amongst some very learned scientific papers, the experts have not yet discovered a parasite which will attack this Miner. The good news is, as I suggested, that the trees don't seem to be affected in the sense of dying off - just the unsightly "early autumn" effect. The conkers are more numerous than ever in the park over the road this year despite massive infestation.

I note that Norwich city council cut all their Horse Chestnut trees down in 2001 - not because of moth infestation (they hadn't arrived in the Uk by then) - but to prevent the dangerous collection of conkers.....!!

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David
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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 18:02   #4
MikeWall
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Originally Posted by black52bird
From what I've read amongst some very learned scientific papers, the experts have not yet discovered a parasite which will attack this Miner. The good news is, as I suggested, that the trees don't seem to be affected in the sense of dying off - just the unsightly "early autumn" effect. The conkers are more numerous than ever in the park over the road this year despite massive infestation.
David,

I ought not take credit for the photo, it was taken by my good friend Rob Edmunds who runs the superb (if somewhat esoteric) UK Leafminers site at http://www.leafmines.co.uk

Mike
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Last edited by MikeWall : Wednesday 6th October 2004 at 21:22. Reason: OK, the URL was wrong. Mucho apols!
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Old Tuesday 5th October 2004, 22:24   #5
harry eales
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeWall
David,

I ought not take credit for the photo, it was taken by my good friend Rob Edmunds who runs the superb (if somewhat esoteric) UK Leafminers site at http://www.leafminers.co.uk

Mike
Hello Mike,

I have tried to access your URL but keep getting an error message, site not found? Are you sure the URL is correct.

Harry
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Old Wednesday 6th October 2004, 08:26   #6
Johan J
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URL was wrong - it is http://www.leafmines.co.uk

Regards,

Johan
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Old Wednesday 6th October 2004, 21:49   #7
harry eales
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Originally Posted by surreyjohan
URL was wrong - it is http://www.leafmines.co.uk

Regards,

Johan
Cheers Johan,
I'm off for a shuftie at it.

Edit. Fascinating site, I've added it to my favourites.

Harry

Last edited by harry eales : Wednesday 6th October 2004 at 21:53.
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Old Thursday 7th October 2004, 10:35   #8
black52bird
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They're decreasing, madam

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Just to add an interesting addenda to this thread:
Prompted by my researches, off her own bat, my wife rang up the Budapest Parks department yesterday to find out what they were doing about the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner problem. The person she sopke to claimed that they were on the decrease, because they were spraying in the spring, and burning the leaves in the autumn.
Interesting, given what several of the research sites say about the minimal effects of spraying, and the fact that in warm continental summers like ours the moth can go through 4 generations in a year. They certainly don't clean up the leaves much as soon as they start falling in July, nor yet in August, so large numbers of pupae must be getting through unscathed.
One is, of course, always worried about the eventual discovery of suitable parasites to keep them at bay, as they may also parisitise other species, too!!
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David
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