New species of leafminers right in your backyard?

People generally seem to think that there is no way that an ordinary person can contribute significantly to scientific research, including the discovery of new species. However, that is emphatically not the case.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there is a brand new iNaturalist project called "Leafminers of North America":

In this new project, quite a few leafminer observations have already shown up for which the adult insect is currently a mystery. Some will turn out to be species that are currently unknown to science, and those species will need to be named and described.

We are fortunate that we have Charley Eiseman as a contributor here on iNaturalist. Charley is an expert on leafminers.

It is a relatively simple matter to attempt to raise leafminers to adulthood. It does not require a lot of equipment or time. And it is possible to find unknown leafminers in parks and wild spaces near where you live, without having to travel anywhere out of the way.

Charley Eiseman has created some instructions online about how to raise all different kinds of leafminers:

Charley has also written and illustrated an ebook that lists which known and unknown leafminers occur on any given plant:

I would encourage people, when they are out and about during the growing season this year, to look for leafminers, to make observations of them, and also to consider the possibility of raising some to adulthood.

Best wishes to all,


由使用者 susanhewitt susanhewitt2019年02月04日 16:17 所貼文


Thanks for posting this, Susan! Just thought I'd add that this is not at all a hypothetical proposition--I collected the type specimens of two recently described species right in my front yard, as discussed here:

And I've found about ten other new species within walking distance of my house--they are scattered through this post:

I look forward to seeing what discoveries others make by scouring their own neighborhoods for leaf mines!


發佈由 ceiseman 超過 5 年 前

Thanks Charley. Wow -- new species right by your driveway! That just goes to show how many discoveries are out there just waiting to be made!

發佈由 susanhewitt 超過 5 年 前


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