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Contarinia nasturtii (Kieffer)
Insecta, Diptera, Cecidomyiidae .

Swede midge

Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images

- Adult: 1.5 mm long, greenish yellow, very hairy wings.
- Egg: 0.30 x 0.08 mm and a small pedicel of 0.06 mm.
- Larva: 3 to 4 mm long, flattened, yellowish white then lemon yellow, narrow at the front.

Host plant : cauliflower and other brassicas.
- Fecundity: 40 to 45 eggs.
- Egg: embryonic development lasts 3 to 5 days.
- Larva: larval growth lasts 10 to 12 days then the larva pupates at the surface of the ground (for which it requires very high humidity), or overwinters inside a cocoon.
- Pupa: development lasts about 12 days.

[R]Life Cycle
- 3 generations overlap from May until the beginning of automn.
- The adults emerge at intervals from the end of May to the end of June (as early as the 15th May in sheltered crops). The female deposits 3, 4 or 5 times, clusters of 8 to 15 eggs on the terminal buds (*) , on the petioles of young leaves or on the inflorescences of brassicas, especially cauliflower and swede. A second flight occurs in July, a third in August; sometimes there is a partial 4th flight.
- The pupae can remain in diapause for 1 or more years.

The larvae develop at the base of the central leaves. They feed by producing saliva which digests the neighbouring plant tissue. The leaf petiole incurvates, the lamina swells, the central bud loses its structure and the central inflorescence does not form. A small protuberance ("blind cabbage" (*) ) appears in its place. If eggs are laid on older cauliflowers, the inflorescence develops irregularly and the cauliflower becomes unmarketable.
The larval attack often favours the development of fungi and bacteria which leads to rotting of the plant.

[R]Common Names
DE: Drehherzmücke ES: Cecidómido de la coliflor FR: Cécidomyie du chou-fleur IT: Cecidomia del cavolo PT: Cecidomídeo da couve-flor GB: Swede midge

[R] Images

  1. Contarinia nasturtii (Kieffer) (COUTIN R. / OPIE)
    Eggs The eggs are laid in contact with the terminal bud. The leaves around it have been turned down to show them (arrowed).
  2. Contarinia nasturtii (Kieffer) (COUTIN R. / OPIE)
    Damage on cauliflower The terminal bud is destroyed and forms what is termed a "blind cabbage". Note the twisting of the petioles (arrowed).

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