Leafminers of North America, Season 2

Leafminer season never really ends, of course, but what I’m announcing in this post is that I’ve just sent out the first monthly installment of the fully revised and updated second edition of Leafminers of North America, my nearly 2000-page e-book about these fascinating insects that I’ve spent much of the past decade studying. Actually, I sent it out last weekend, but I got so wrapped up in working on finishing some papers about leaf-mining beetles that I didn’t get around to telling anyone except those who already have the first edition. So for the rest of you, here is a modified version of the message I sent out.


A white oak leaf with mines of three different leaf-mining moths. Clockwise from upper left: Stigmella (Nepticulidae), Cameraria, and Phyllonorycter (Gracillariidae).

It’s been two years since I sent out the first monthly installment of Leafminers of North America. As you may know, I just completed the first edition last June, but “complete” is a moving target when there is so much left to learn. In the past two years, at least 50 new species of North American leafminers have been described, and I now have notes in every single chapter of the book about text and photos to be added or modified. So I’m going to start cycling through the chapters again, and the updated introduction has already been completed. It includes some new illustrations and some added text, based on feedback from readers as well as my experience teaching a week-long leafminer workshop last summer. I’m going to try to stick to the same schedule as before to begin with, and I should be able to pick up the pace a bit once I get past the Lepidoptera and Diptera chapters (many new adult images to add there, along with taxonomic updates to be made). As I go through the chapters, I am also planning on compiling a spreadsheet of leafminer mysteries that need investigating, including fields for location and season. I will provide this as an Excel file, so that people interested in helping to solve these mysteries can reorganize it however they like.

As before, there are monthly and annual subscription options or you can just purchase the whole thing at once. Anyone who does the latter will receive the full first edition right away and the second edition as it becomes available, at no extra cost. See this page for details. And anyone who doesn’t really want a 2000-page book on leafminers but values the work I’m doing is welcome to make a contribution, either using the button at the bottom of that page or the “make a donation” button at the top of the right sidebar on this one. As you’ll see below, the scope of my bug-related pursuits doesn’t leave much space in my life for gainful employment.


The larva of a Periclista sawfly (Tenthredinidae) face to face with an adult of the leaf-mining beetle Brachys aerosus (Buprestidae) on a scrub oak leaf.

A few other updates while I’m at it: I have a paper in press documenting some new rearing records for (mostly non-leafmining) sawflies. I’m still excited to start working on a hostplant-based guide to North American sawfly larvae, but so far this winter I’ve been focusing my attention on finishing up a number of leafminer-related publications:

  • I coauthored the sections on Bucculatricidae, Gracillariidae, Heliozelidae, Nepticulidae, and Tischeriidae for the new checklist of North American Lepidoptera that will be published later this year
  • A paper on leaf-mining Tortricidae, including the description of a new species, is now in press
  • A paper on some lithocolletine Gracillariidae, including correcting the generic assignments of several species, was just resubmitted today
  • Today I also resubmitted a second paper on leaf-mining muscoid flies
  • A fourth paper on Agromyzidae is nearly ready to submit (describing thirteen new species, with new hosts etc. for a number of others)
  • A large paper on leaf-mining Chrysomelidae and a smaller paper on leaf-mining Buprestidae are nearly ready to submit
  • I’m halfway through writing a large paper on eulophid wasps reared from leafminers, but I plan to write a smaller paper on leaf-feeding weevils before I finish that
  • A number of publications on various moth groups are in progress
  • I recently completed a report on a leafminer survey of Black Rock Forest in New York (as mentioned in my last blog post), and will soon be writing reports on surveys conducted last year on Nantucket, in various midwestern prairies, and in Michigan’s Huron Mountains

If you’re an iNaturalist user, check out the Leafminers of North America project I created and please add your leaf mine observations there. The umbrella project that keeps track of that one along with several smaller regional leafminer projects now has over 6000 observations in it, and this has allowed me to glean a number of new host and distribution records as well as learn about some leaf mines that no one has documented before.

And finally, this summer I will be teaching several workshops in the northeastern US on invertebrate tracks & sign (including, but not limited to, leafminers), ranging in length from a few hours to a full week. For details, see my schedule.

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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4 Responses to Leafminers of North America, Season 2

  1. Judy says:

    Wow. Just wow.

  2. Andree says:

    If we already have a subscription but not the entire first book, do we continue to get the first and then the 2nd edition if we continue subscribing? Thank you for all your hard work.

    • I will keep sending the monthly installments of the first edition, and you will get the installments of the second edition as soon as they’re ready. You should have already received the first installment of the second edition–let me know if you didn’t!

  3. susantcloutier says:

    Great work. Thank you. I am waiting for high speed internet to get updates.

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