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msumary

Lysimachia Goldilocks being eaten

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Hard to say without a pic of either the damage or the culprit, but with nothing to go on besides "a lot of tiny holes" I'd lean towards four-lined plant bug (Poecilocapus lineatus). Here's some info. They don't actually eat the leaves, they pierce them and suck out the contents. But the spots can end up clear or black, looking like holes, or the dead part can break down, leaving an actual hole.

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There's a sawfly that's a wizard of a chewer that gets into lysimachia. Like a phantom, and then when you finally see one you'll think "How the heck did I miss THAT? It's green-gray and pretty chubby as it nears maturity. Really tough to get ahead of. And has pretty wide tastes. Last time we took it on, we opted to just chop down what we saw being eaten, early in the season. Did that for two seasons, and perhaps that helped speed the end of the pests boom cycle. Who can say -- that population may have been about to bust/crash on its own.

Okay now I have to go find its name. Or maybe Steven has a photo...

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The sawfly that's decimated our lysimachia plantings in various places before is Monostegia abdominalis. It will eat Eupatorium, Oenethera and others, too. In our case its target loosestrife was the native fringed loosestrife, Lysimachia ciliata but I figure it would eat Golidilocks in a second. Anything that can jump between whole families of plants to eat can certainly switch between cousins. It does eat in that pattern you describe -- hole in the leaf thing on its way to decimating the plant. And it's not until its nearly ready to pupate that we notice it so it must be fast growing from a tiny start, and probably a bit differently colored in earlier instars because the gray green does stand out.

 

The dmagae, by the way, is not life threatening to lysimachia (just TRY to kill a lysimachia; maybe you can kill L. ephemerum but all of the others will just take the energy of any blow and put it into a resurgence.) But it does look ugly.

Photos at one of my favorite insect reference sites, http://bugguide.net/node/view/572026

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