Cheilosia caerulescens

Cheilosia caerulescens (Meigen, 1822)

Nomenclature:

Added to the British List by Collins and Halstead (2008).

Biology & ecology:

The larva mines the leaves of houseleeks, mainly Sempervivum tectorum but also more rarely in S. montanum and S. arachnoideum. It has also been claimed to occur in other species of Rosaceae and Asteraceae. The egg is inserted between the leaves into the heart of the rosette of the plant. Older larvae can completely empty a leaf within a day before moving onto another one. Small rosettes can be killed completely and the fly is considered as a pest by gardeners! The larva pupates in the soil below the plant. In Europe, C. caerulescens is bivoltine with larvae commonest in June and again in August/September and with adults flying in May and July.

Distribution:

Most records are from Surrey but there is a record from Bedfordshire. This species is likely to have arrived in plants imported from Holland where C. caerulescens is well established. It is possible that widely disparate populations reflect multiple instances of infected plants being imported.