Contarinia nasturtii

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swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii)
Author: Susan Ellis (USDA APHIS PPQ)
Source: IPM Images

Contarinia nasturtii (Kieffer, 1888) (swede midge)

The species is a small, plant feeding midge which is native to Europe and has invaded North America in the 1990s. It breeds in the leaves and flower buds of Brassica species where the larvae form galls, excrete toxins and cause deformations and damage to the growing point. In heavily infested crops, yield losses can exceed 50%. Outbreaks are more frequent under moist weather conditions.

There may be up to 3 generations per year. The adult life last only for a few days, whereas the larval stages develop over several weeks. The mature larvae leave the host plant and pupate in the soil. When temperatures drop below 15° C the larvae enter into diapause in the soil instead of pupating, completing their development in the coming spring, or sometimes even in the spring the following year.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Kohldrehherzmücke
Drehherzmücke
• English: Swede midge
• Español: cecidómido de la coliflor
• Français: cécidomyie du chou-fleur

The adult is yellowish brown and about 1½ to 2 mm long. Its antennae resemble a string of pearls. The larvae are maggot-like and can leap small distances by twisting their body.