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Please Send Us Your Moths!

6 April 2006

From our entomologist colleagues in Finland:

Dear colleagues,

As a part of our research on insects associated with the pedunculate oak or English oak (Quercus robur), we urgently need hundreds or even thousands of larvae of the leaf-mining moth Tischeria dodonaea.

This species is fairly to very common in many parts of Central Europe and the UK - and particularly so in botanic gardens!

Quercus leaf minersIf you could spare some time to collect Tischerias for us, the procedure is very simple.

The larvae hibernate in abscised oak leaves, and the leaf mine is easy to identify (see the picture). The mine is copper in colour and always located on the upper surface of the leaf. Look for concentric black rings creating a pattern reminiscent of a snail shell.

Mined leaves are particularly easy to find before spring vegetation covers them. Hence, you may simply go for a nice spring walk in your garden, pick up the leaves one by one and look for mines. Or - if you are more inclined towards a high-yield approach - you may rake up a bagful of leaves, and then sit in the sun and eye through the leaves for mines. The more you find, the happier we are.

Please pack the leaves in an insulated envelope or box, since mail is often transported in the coldest parts of the aeroplanes. Styrofoam is great, but a padded envelope will probably do as well. Please mail it to us as regular or first class mail at the address below. We have checked with both customs and phytosanitary authorities, and there is absolutely no problem with sending this type of non-endangered, harmless species across Europe (the species also occurs in Finland, although it is not very common).

Should you require any further information, we will be more than happy to respond.

With a million thanks for your help!
Tomas Roslin
Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences PO Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
Phone: +358 9 191 57750
Cellphone: +358 40 595 8098
FAX: +358 9 191 57694

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