Contarinia merceri Barnes A foxtail midge

This generally common midge is associated with meadow foxtail. Infestations sometimes cause economic damage to seed crops, especially those growing in sheltered sites. Adults occur in late May and early June, eggs being deposited within the florets. The golden-yellow larvae, up to 2.5 mm long, which have a small sternal spatula, feed gregariously within the florets (cf. Contarinia geniculati, above, and Dasineura alopecuri, p. 171); they destroy the seeds so that empty glumes are present at harvest. Individuals are fully grown within a month. They then enter the soil to spin cocoons. A few of the larvae may pupate in the summer to produce a partial second generation in the autumn; most, however, overwinter and pupate in the spring.

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