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You might think there are no insects around in winter but you’d be wrong, as I’ve been discovering in the past week or so. In my checks for blooming wildflowers, I’ve seen the odd Lesser celandine and Buttercup flower and, looking more closely at the plants, I’ve noticed leaf mines on some. And where there are leaf mines, there are insects laying eggs and larvae developing from those eggs to create the mines.

These particular mines are created by Phytomyza ranunculi, an incredibly tiny fly which I haven’t yet seen. But I have seen – and can show you here – a larva and a puparium. I brought home a couple of Lesser celandine leaves, intending to take better photos of them, but I didn’t reckon on them shrivelling up overnight. On the positive side, when I picked up one leaf, a tiny larva was sitting underneath, presumably having popped out of the leaf as it dried up.

A couple of days later I brought home another couple of leaves, for the same purpose, but this time left them in a sealed container. The next day, when I opened it, I saw this tiny speck in the bottom of the container and realised a larva from one of the leaves must have pupated. I’m trying to hatch it so I – and you – get to see the fly. Fingers crossed!