Ophiomyia simplex Loew larva Asparagus miner

This fly is well established in the main asparagus-growing areas of continental Europe, where it is sometimes considered an important pest; however, observations in America and elsewhere suggest that this pest actually has little or no detrimental effect on crop yields. Larval feeding causes the outer tissue of stems to split; also, infested plants often turn yellow and wilt. Larval-damaged tissue may be invaded by pathogenic organisms, so that affected stems rot and eventually break off.


Adults appear from early June to mid-July, with a partial second generation emerging in the late summer. Eggs are laid in the base of the stems of host plants. After egg hatch, the larvae mine just below the epidermis. At first, they bore upwards for several centimetres; later, they burrow downwards, each forming an irregular feeding gallery. The mines, usually several in each infested plant, often extend below soil level. Pupation occurs in the mine, immediately below the epidermis.


Adult shiny black; wings 2.2-3.0mm long. Larva up to 5 mm long, creamish-white; cephalo-pharyngeal skeleton with dorsal elements (dorsal cornu) (see Fig. 107) divided into two; mouth-hooks with long axis set more or less obliquely to rest of mouthparts (cf. asparagus fly, Platyparea poeciloptera, p. 190); posterior spiracles each with about 16 pores and borne on broad, raised processes. Puparium 4 mm long, brown, somewhat flattened; posterior spiracles borne on broad, raised processes.

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