Dasineura alopecuri Reuter A foxtail midge

This widely distributed pest occurs on meadow foxtail throughout northern Europe and can have a very significant effect on seed crops. The larvae feed within the florets, affecting germination; they also cause direct damage to the seeds, which often develop a distinct lateral depression. Adult midges are red and appear in May. The females deposit reddish eggs singly in the florets, the long ovipositor readily penetrating beneath the glume. Eggs hatch about a week later and the larvae feed for up to 2 months. Fully grown individuals are 2.0-2.5 mm long, reddish-orange and distinctly oval-bodied; the anterior protuberances of the very broad sternal spatula are distinctly pointed (ear-like) (cf. Contarinia geniculati, p. 170, and C. merceri, p. 170). Larvae (in common with those of C. geniculati) remain within the dead florets, even after these have dropped to the ground. Pupation occurs in the spring. This pest is spread readily within infested seed, the latter failing to be removed by normal post-harvest cleaning processes.

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