Lambsquarters Leafminer

On July 20 I found the distinctive mines of Chrysoesthia sexguttella (Gelechiidae) in some lambsquarters (Chenopodium) leaves, with the larvae still inside.  I collected two leaves containing mines and put them in a plastic bag.

Mine of Chrysoesthia sexguttella (Gelechiidae) in a lambsquarters leaf, backlit to show the larva.

The larvae had emerged from the mines by the next day, and on the following day one of them had spun a thin cocoon and pupated.  Knowing from past experience that the adult moths might rub scales off their wings if left in a plastic bag, I moved them to a small vial.

Larva (or prepupa) of Chrysoesthia sexguttella.

Pupa of Chrysoesthia sexguttella.

Yesterday, the first adult emerged.   I usually think of gelechiids (which are sometimes called “twirler moths”) as being nondescript little brown or gray things, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a colorful orange-spotted moth (sexguttella means “six-spotted,” and there are in fact three orange spots on each wing).  Also, like the last gelechiid I wrote about, this one was very cooperative, sitting nice and still while I photographed it instead of running around frantically as most of the other leafminers have done.  So all in all, I’m a fan of this moth.

Adult Chrysoesthia sexguttella (~4 mm long).

About Charley Eiseman

I am a freelance naturalist, endlessly fascinated by the interconnections of all the living and nonliving things around me. I am the lead author of Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates (Stackpole Books, 2010), and continue to collect photographs and information on this subject. These days I am especially drawn to galls, leaf mines, and other plant-insect interactions.
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2 Responses to Lambsquarters Leafminer

  1. Pingback: Leafminers on the Road | BugTracks

  2. I am a foraging teacher, and recently started using your book. Chrysoesthia sexguttella was the 1st one I IDed. Can’t wait to look around the blog!

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