Document Type

Peer-Review Article


Leatherwood, Dirca palustris (Thymelaeaceae), is an understory shrub ranging throughout most of the eastern and central United States and adjacent Canada. During 1997-1999, we conducted studies to identify and assess the impact of a leafminer that was causing significant damage to leather- wood plants in eastern Gogebic County, Michigan. Leucanthiza dircella was identified as the only insect responsible for the leaf mining activity on leatherwood. In northern Michigan, L. dircella completed one generation per year. Adult moths were captured on yellow sticky panels suspended from leatherwood branches. In 1997 and 1998, most adults were captured during the first sampling period of each year: 6-12 June 1997 and 3-19 May 199B. In 1999, no moths were collected during 5-29 April but adults were collected between 30 April and 22 June 1999. In 1999, initiation of adult flight coincided with D. palustris leaf flush. In 1997, leaf mines were very noticeable by 30 June. The mean number of live L. dircella larvae per mine was 3.5 on 17 July 1997 and then decreased as the season progressed, with most larvae having exited the mines by late August to pupate in the soil. In late August 1997, the mean surface area of a single leaf was 17.8 cm2 and the mean surface area of a single mine was 5.9 cm2. At the end of the 1997 growing sea­son, 31% of the leatherwood leaves contained L. dircella mines, and 11% of the total leaf surface area had been mined. In 1999, only 8% of the leaves in the study area contained L. dircella mines. No leatherwood mortality was evident as a result of L. dircella leaf mining. Seven species of hymenopteran parasitoids were reared from L. dircella larvae, including one braconid in the genus Pholetesor and six eulophids in the genera Chrysocharis, Closterocerus, Pnigalio, and Sympiesis. Three coleopterans that were commonly observed on leatherwood plants during all years included: Glyptina brunnea (Chrysomelidae), Phyllobius oblongus (Curculionidae) and Polydrusus sericeus (Curculionidae).

Included in

Entomology Commons



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