Ophiomyia pinguis Fallen Black chicory fly

This insect is an important pest of chicory in continental Europe, and is particularly numerous in the chicory-growing regions of Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland; although not an established pest, it is introduced occasionally into the British Isles. The larval mines, which are often reddish tinged, spoil the appearance of harvested white chicory heads and, if infestations are heavy, the crop may be unmarketable. Attacks also occur on endive and lettuce.


Adults appear in the spring and eggs are then deposited in the upper surface of leaves of host plants, usually close to the mid-rib. Each larva burrows within the leaf tissue and eventually pupates at the end of the mine; feeding may also extend into the stems but never into the roots. In northern Europe, there is normally just one generation annually and larvae complete their feeding and pupate in the spring. In warmer regions and in forcing sheds, however, feeding is completed more rapidly and there may be several generations annually. When chicory plants are lifted in the autumn and cut for forcing, larvae in the bases of the plants transfer to the developing blanched heads, where they will continue to feed throughout the winter.


Adult 2.5-3.0mm long, black, stout-bodied; abdomen distinctly shiny; antennae separated by a prominent facial keel; wings 1.9-2.3 mm long. Larva up to 6 mm long, whitish-yellow; posterior spiracles each borne on a distinct stalk and with about 10 large pores; cephalopharyngeal skeleton with dorsal elements (dorsal cornu) (see Fig. 107) divided into two; mouth-hooks each with a single prominent tooth (cf. Napomyza cichorii, p. 190). Puparium 3.5mm long, pale yellow; posterior spiracles each borne on a stalk.

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