Incurvariidae leaf mine
Incurvariidae are tiny moths but may be distinguished by their woolly heads and the absence of an eye-cap. There are many species and they are largely unstudied. Great numbers have been reared from eucalypts and a few feed in Banksia. The larvae are leaf miners, and in some species remain so throughout life. In others the older larvae form a case from the upper and lower surfaces of the old mine and continue feeding on the leaf from inside the case. The larva and case drop to the ground when the larva is ready to pupate. The biology of the Jarrah Leaf Miner, Perthida glyphopa, has been studied in detail because vast outbreaks have damaged Jarrah forests in Western Australia. It is unusual for a native insect to cause heavy damage and in this case it is likely that artificial burning regimes affected natural parasites much more than they did the moths.
This is one of many similar Incurvariidae species that are found throughout the ACT. They are very inconspicuous moths but the larval workings of oval or elongate “shot-holes” in the leaf are common and conspicuous. This leaf of Eucalyptus blakelyi (Blakely’s Red Gum) has mines of one of the species, long abandoned.