The Alfalfa gall midge (Asphondylia miki Wachtl.)

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Title:
The Alfalfa gall midge (Asphondylia miki Wachtl.)
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Unknown
Creator:
Webster, F. M ( Francis Marion ), 1849-1916
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Government Printing Office, ( Washington )
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aleph - 29684731
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UBRARY
STATE PLANT BOARD


CIRCULAR NO. 147. Issued April 6, 1912.

United States Department of Agriculture,
BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY.
L. 0. HOWARD, Entoologist and Chief of Bureau.


*THE ALFALFA GALL MIDGE.
(Asphondylia mik Wachtl.)
By F. M. WEBSTER,
In Charge of Cereal and Forage Insect Inrestigation.
IN PRODUCTION.
The object in publishing a circular on the alfalfa gall midge
(A8p ylia miki Wachtl) at the present time is to direct the atten-
tion, e illy of alfalfa growers in the southwest-
ern portion of the country, to the appearance of this
foreign insect in the United States, with the hope
that they will be led to observe the galled pods
shown in figures 1, 2, and 3 and report the occur-
rence of the same to this bureau.
As a matter of fact, we do not know and can not
foresee what injuries this insect will cause in this
country, though it has not so far proved destructive.
We do not wish to cause any undue apprehension
relative to its effects, but feel that we ought to bring
its presence in alfalfa fields to the attention of
farmers, so that it may be carefully watched.
It has not, therefore, been thought necessary to
publish here a full technical description of the midge fal. 1.A head o
~alfalfa with gll
beyond what is shown in the illustration (fig. 4). of the seed pods
galled by the al-
Galls, from which this insect was afterwards falfa gall midge
reared, were first found in limited numbers by Mr. (Aspho l(Via
rmiki) except the
C. N. Ainslie, of this bureau, at Sacaton, Ariz., on uppermost, which
the Pima Indian Reservation, June 12, 1909. Galls is but slightly af-
Jue1,fected. Slightly
identical with these were also found in the same enlarged. (Orig-
locality by Mr. V. L. Wildermuth, of this bureau, inal.)
June 10, 1910. They were found about .Tempe and Phoenix, Ariz.,
June 16, 1911, by Mr. E. G. Smyth, of this bureau, in about the same
255768--Cir. 147-12

3





2 THE ALFALFA GALL 1MIDGE.

numbers as previously observed by him at Sacaton, May 27, 1911.
In sending a lot of heads of alfalfa from Tularosa, N. Mex., July
13, 1911, Mr. N. A. Bishop, a farmer, directed our attention to
reports among his neighbors of injury to the seed and complaints
of bee keepers of a lack of honey in the bloom. A considerable
number of these galled pods was included in
his sending, apparently without having been ob-
served by him.

DESCRIPTION OF THE-GALL.

The following is a translation of the original
description of the gall (fig. 3) found in alfalfa
fields in the vicinity of Vienna, Austria:
The formation of the gall stands out as a deformation
of the seed-pod of the lucerne, Medicago sativa L. The
deformed pod does not show the same snail coil shape as
in the normal, healthy condition, but it is shortened at te
point, where it is somewhat shrunken. It is strongly
bloated up and swelled out, particularly in the proximity
of the base, the valves of the pod
FIG. 2.-A head of al- are considerably thicker, and the
falfa with the seed rest of it is flesh-like in color.
pods uninjured ex-
cepting the lower Although the pods keep the green
one at right, which color on the outside, they contain
has been attacked no seed. It is not impossible
by the alfalfa gall that the insect, by visiting in
midge. Slightly en-
larged. (Original.) large numbers fields containing
lucerne, might injure the seed
harvest of this clover species quite considerably.
The pupa bores through the wall of this pod with the
intention of transforming to the imago. It is then
situated laterally and below the shrunken gall point.
On Melicago falcata L. I have found exactly the same
gall formation, but only a few examples. Although I did
not take the flies out of these galls, I do believe, never-
theless, that these galls in their formative condition
agree exactly with those of the preceding species, and
since one out of the same conspicuous pupal cases FIG. 3.-A single seed
belongs to an Asphondylia, I dare to conclude therefrom pod of alfalfa de
that their origin may be traced to Asphondylia miiki. stroyed by the alfalfa
The description of the gall forms on both species of gall midge. Much en-
Medicago are taken from Donu-Auen of Wien. large. (Original.)
From the galled seed pods found by him at Sacaton, Mr. Ainslie
was able to rear the adult insects (fig. 4), which were later deter-
mined by the late Mr. D. WV. Coquillett as Asphondyl ml ki, as

G. Ritter v. Frauenfeld had already become acquainted with this gall formation for In
the Verh. d. k. k. zool.-botan. Ges., Jlahrg. 18J. l)d. XI. p. 173, he says: "The Gall flies
inhabit the flowers of the Medicafo satira L. in large numbers, and the fruit of Mediago
il even greater numbers." [KalsrlichkLnigllche Zool.-bot. Ges. In Wien., vol. 10, p. 535,
2 tab. XVIII, fig. 2, 1880.]






THE ALFALFA GALL MIDGE.


described in 1880 from the vicinity of Vienna, Austria, where the
species appears to affect alfalfa in precisely the same way as in
Arizona and New Mexico.

THE ADULT MIDGE.
This midge belongs with
a group of flies which in-
cludes the wheat midge
( Contai-inia tritci Kirby),
the clover midge (Dasy-
tra leguminicola Lintn.),
and the sorghum midge
(Contarinia sorghicola
Coq.). The insects are
very small and obscurely
colored, so that the farmer
will hardly be likely to
observe them. He will,
however, have no difficulty
in detecting the galled seed
pods. During the last
year or two a number of Fir. 4.-The alfalfa gall midge: Adult female, with
complaints have been re- antenna of male above, at left. Greatly enlarged.
ceived from the Southwest (Original.
relative to the failure of alfalfa seed to develop. This has been
attributed by farmers to a number of insects, none of which is at
all likely to be responsible for the injury, while it is quite possible
that it may be due to this gall midge.


FiG. 5.-The alfalfa gall
midge: a, Pupa, dorsal
view, showing the spines


THE PUPA.
The pupa is shown in figure 5. The dor-
sum, or back, is illustrated in figure 5, a,
which shows the spines that enable it to work
its way through the walls of the galled pod,
as described in the preceding translation.
hABITS OF THE INSECT.


on the back, by the aid of We have not, up to the present time, been
which it works itself out able to secure ver
of the galled pod ; b, ven- y much definite information
tral or under side of relative to the pest. From the notes made by
same. Greatly enlarged. Mr. Ainslie and also by Mr. Smyth, it would
Original.)
appear that the insect winters in the pods.
So far as is now known its breeding season during summer is rather
short. as it has not been noticed earlier than late May or later than
September, excpting that Mr. Ainslie reared adults, ia confinement,






THE ALFALFA GALL MIDGE.


as late as October 26. This late date would indicate an e
in spring, rather than in late fall, under natural conditions.
OBSCURITY S-URROUNDING ITS APPEARANCE.
That the insect should first make its appearance in the midst of a
desert country (see fig. 6) is somewhat surprising. There is nothing
known of it that would lead us to believe that it can be distributed in
alfalfa seed. It could hardly have been imported accidentaly from
the Eastern Hemisphere into this part of the country. Besides this,
it is preyed upon extensively by parasitic insects, which would imply
a rather lung residence in this country, although as these parasites are
all new to science and have never been described,
it would almost seem that it might be working its
way from Mexico northward. The abundance
of these parasites is an encouraging feature, as
they tend to prevent its becoming destructive,
With the additional information which we
hope to obtain, both from investigations of the
bureau and from those into whose hands this
circular may fall, we shall probably be a to
dispel much of the obscurity at t Sur-
Vi;. 6.-Map showing rounding the pest. The indications are that it
localities where the is spreading over the alfalfa-growing sections of
alfalfa gall inidge has
teen found in the the extreme Southwest, but it does not neces-
United States. (Orig- warily follow from this that it will prove so
i.) deritctive as have many other insects coming
to us from across the Atlantic Ocean.
PREVENTIVE MEASURES.
It is yet too early to say much concerning measures for preventing
injury by the alfalfa gall inidge. Of course, mowing the alfalfaust
as the plants are coming into bloom will doubtless keep the
(f the midge much reduced, as this method tends to prevent de -
nient, and, therefore, to curtail increase in numbers. A
observation made at Sacaton, Ariz., May 27, 1911, by Mr.
quite suggestive. "The galls were found very sparingly in ed
which had been cut for hay less than two months since, and in sh
fields from none of the galls had the adults issued. But in one ield of
both punple and yellow flowering alfalfa, which had not
early spring at any time cut for hay, but rather allowed to run to
seed, the galls were far more plentiful than in other fields, and
a large percentage of them adults, or parasites, had issued,"
App,-mved: UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
J~m VTLSONI fit1 Il liiiI 11tH1 Il111I11U111I111I 1 *fl Il1111
Secretary of A qrtuClture. 3 1262 09228 2614
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 4, 1919.




Full Text




dSIcrs il-.,- i, lJ.I Nr0i111 tilm vi du nity 'df ViiVj,.,. A,,-t-i.,. wNi erIv the
Sp lo,,.,- ;,iql|M;,r-. Io :,ll',,, all':llf;, il ll ili the S llt w aly as ill
Ariz,,,i.m 11,,1 N .l .Xh.\Wil,+.


IIF .\ I M11 1.11' 1 1 4;r.

This inl tr Iln-lu- with
a ('10IIp 1)f tli' whuichi in-
cllnh-, thln Ni liv.t m illt,_
(/ '14 th rill t,'it,', ; K ir1y),
thle clover 1,lil, ( ,..v.
m~iJ',-ih b ,,n,/,;,., ,i,, i'A ntnl.),
and t li- sormihliiiiii ,iihlirie
( (' 10 to ri ;,I ,.)' / I ,'j ola
Coxt.). The incts aw
very -.-mall ,iiil bseuIrly
)oloreid. So that the farmer
will lharillv I)h likely to,
observe theli. Hie will.
however, lhave no lifliriiltY
in detecting t lh gnilIl seed
poIlMds. During the last
yeair or two a nuiiiiil'r of
minplaints have b een rc-
eeived from the Stiitlv.,
irlative to thu failure of
attributed Lby f:,rieris to a
all likely to lx. re-I,[ii-ilhl
that



,'ll'll,
twh ic
wits"
as dt
Fi-.. 5.- The irntira ,lII
ailrtp n. Pupa. il.rsa!l
view. shmlii>' (li" it ie-
-in the nlick hby thi, 01i of r(
whilrh It %%nrkn I -IF 1[ )tt :i L i
of ihe all@ ild po.l : h, i .
ril or iind.r -!I. of< I';
"-iume. CIreatly nlar.r, d '_ l ".
ibriginnli I' '

So far as, i, now known its
short. a. it h.- not beYi io
September. except ilig tlih:it


Fiti. 4. PThe allfalfa -, :i tmidL : Adult formal o, with
antenna rf maile a+) n-i>> at rf~t. liroatly enlargl,t

il ill .i -i.'. 1 to develop. Tii- has 1en1
numlr f insects, none ,oI which is at
fir the injir, wI i le it is quite possible
it may le due to this g.,ll A iilg,.
THIE PI'PA.
it l i fl is shown in iii ir .r,. Tie do-
or back. is illi ti-tireI' in fiLr)l 5. a,
h show's tIll spines ilit enable it to work
;I% 1],n,,igl, the walls 4f the ,p_.. il, ,,l.
.'5ril4'd in tlhe pt,' ,',]iU! translation.
IIABIS (F TIIE INSECT.
e hve 114. ) up to the presentit time, been
to -,'rir vr much u i .fi ll, information
ivr to the piet. Fromi the notes ni.i,\v by
A\inlli. and al-o IV Mlr. '-i uIll. it would
ar that the inselt winters in the pods.
lIii ason liiri:- 'II1111summe'r is1 rather
ticed earlier than l.im, 11 \ or later than
Ir. Aiillic r'cuFLdl adilt-. lm cuvIlilj iiciu.


'I'll t. \1.1 \1 I. A I.ALL % ll,1i .







THE ALFALFA GALL MIDGE.


number. s ps reriously observed by liini at Sacaton, May 27, 1911.
In sending a lot of heads of alfalfa from Tularosa, N. Mex., July
13. 1911, Mr. M. A. Bishop, a farmer, directed our attention to


report, among his
of bee keepers of



















FiG. 2.-A head of al-
falfa with thlie seed
pods uninjured ex.
-epting the lower
one at ribht. which
has been attacked
by the alfalfa gall
muidcP. Slightly en
large.,. (Original.i

hirvest of this clover


neighbors of injury to the seed and complaints
a lack of honey in the bloom. A considerable
number of these galled pods was included in
his sending, apparently without having been ob-
served by him.

DESCRIPTION OF TIlE GALL.

The following i, a translation (if thle original
description of the gall rig. 3) found in alfalfa
fields. in the vicinity of Vienna, Austria:
The formation of the gall stands out as a deformation
of the seed-pod of the lucerne. .liedicago *atica L. The
deformed pod does not show the same snail coil shape as
in Ihe normal, healthy condition, linbut it is shortened at the
point. where it is somewhat shrunken. It is strongly
bloated utp and swelled out. particularly in the proximity
iif the base, the valves of the p)od
ire considerably thicker, and [lie
rest of it is flesh-like in color. --
Although the p',ds keep the gr u'l.
color on the outside, they .contain
no seed. It is not inhlMassihlie
that the insect, by visiting in
large numbers fields containing a
lucerne, might injure the seed[
species quite considerably. 1


Thle pupa bores through the wall of this pud with the
iniietiiiun of trausforming to the iniagn. It is then
situated laterally and belh'w the shrunken gall point.
On 11ilivcago fli/vta I.. I have fnountd exactly the same
gall fiirniation. but only n few examples. Although I did
nt t;ike thlie flies out of these galls. I do believe. never-
theless, that these galls ill their formiathe condition
agree exactly with those of the preceding species, and
sinitC ('liP, out tif thli samne conspicuous |im)li;al cases
belongs t-) an Asphrndyli.i. I dare to conclude therefrom
that thlioir origin may lie traced to .1.1phoIndyliiz miki./
The description of lihe gall forms on both species of
Medicag.o :ire taken fr'ri, I hi.iii-..\Auen 'if Wien.


FiG. 3.-A single seed
pod of alfalfa de-
stroyed by the alfalfa
gall midge. Much en-
larged .iOrlginal. i


From thle galled seed pods found by him at Sacaton, Mr. Ainslie
,was able to rear the adult insects (fig. 4), which were later deter-
mined by the late Mr. D. W'. Coquillett as Asphondylia mid, as
1G. Ritter v. Frauenfeld had .ilrnd. become acquainted with this gall formation for In
the Verb. d. k. k. zool.-botan. Ges., .Ihlir, 1861, Bd. XI, p. 172, he says: The Gall flies
inhabit the flowers of the Medicago sativa L. in large numbers, and the fruit of Mldlcago
in even greater numbers." [Kalserlich-k6niglicbe Zool.-bot. Ges. in Wien.. vol. 30, p. 535,
2 tab. XVIII, fig. 2, 1lS0 1




F 0- I


CIRCULAq Nri. 147.


United States Department o-J Agriculture,
BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY
L. 0. HOWARD. Ertonmrloriq -indl Chief of Burciu.


THlE .IALFALFA G.ALL MiD1 E.
o 1//, h,,i-rlitit l il.l \V".I hll )

1:' F. M. WMBBTKI,
Ito V 'i ji #, f I' 'it iind I ia 'ii,. I, s rt Ie i( lif ttj nl*

INTBIs 1TIOTN.
The ,,bject in pu shing a circular on the .,1 ill'.il '.Ll i,,I'e
(.l.i/ndtliu ii n 1 Wachtl) at the preoeit time is to iJ41ic ri' the atten-
tion. especially of ;ilfalf. i ir- i''l il'- iiili''-t-
eni portion of tiht-' iintr ', to thile tplit-all'.ilIi'l, 1f this 1
foreign insect in the l'iile, St.ii.-. with the hope -
that they will be led to oh-berv'e lie p:illiIl 1,,I k
shown in figulre- 1, I2. Iiin 3 and report II,, oecur- ,
rence of thle same to this iuireau. Its
fore.e whait iiijiiri,-. tlii- ins-et \\ill i in this Illtii

country. thoiiL.h it Im- not so .far r,',V'l ,l,-tri I iVe. H
W e dio not wili toI iu-e :iilv iiidilt' .i1'1r'lii-ioii
relative to it1 etffei-. but fL'(. that we i)iillt to 1i ininu
its pre.s'nci' in iilf:lf;i ti'hl.- to the attention ,r 4
farmer, so tlit it miay 1 re 'irfiilly v watched.
It h s not. tliert' ffrT,' 1we linhIlit ne11 -0 V to
publi.-h here a fiull t,',ihiivhil ,1i.-'ri|.tio -If dl,, iil,.P A K. ad oa
*lilt if a with .. ...
beyondl what is -lhowN in thle ill-ustration (i. 4I). 4t 0th'- i.-." i-
S, .illh Ihy the at-
Gall-. from % whi,'h thi-n inet -'4 i.- u i t 1 rwill'. I- Calfaa :,ii iniiic,'
reared, were tir-t fmindl in limited iimiili-ers l.v MrI. I. p It ., 1
ili( xefept the
C. N. Ainslie, of this htirit'iii. at S;ii:tiri. Anriz... on ;pptrrnwtmhl.h
the Pilim Indian i e-erv;iti4.n. u.T 1-2 Ptl '. I n, i i ill- ( o." -!1-hr'i at
identical with these wero ii1.o found in the iame .i:ir,..1. .rI.
locality by Mr. V. L. Wildermunith. f1i- llii inn;i[.
June 10. 1910. The'v er fon nbout Tempe aii i'lPiK'ix. Ariz..
June 1M, 1911. by Mr. F.. G. Snmytlh. 'if thi- bhrtaii. in albiit the saine
25576*---Cr. 147-12


--'vA %1. \ !" _'




UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
I I I I I II III I ll 111111111 1I rll Hll I l
3 1262 09216 5660
4 THE ALIALFA GALL M..^.
as late as October 2i. fli, late date would indicate an emergence
in spring. rather tlan in late fall, under- natural conditions.
OBSCURITY S" RROU' N DIG ITS APPEA RAN CE.
That the insect should first make its appearance in the midst of a
desert country (see fig. 6) is somewhat surprising. There is nothing
known of it that would lead us to believe tlihat it can be distributed in
alfalfa .-ecv. It could hardly have been imported accidentally from
the Eastern Hemi-phlere into this- part of the country. Besides this,
it is preyed upon extensively by parasitic insects, which would imply
a rather b ng re-idence in this country, alt hough as these parasites are
all new to science and have never been described,
it would almost seen that it might be working its
/" 1 wayv from Mexico northward. The abundance
of these parasites is an encouraging feature, as
they tend to prevent its becoming destructive.
__ With the additional information which we
L. i hope to obtain, both from investigations of the
bureau and from those into whose hands this
~ circular may fall, we shall probably be able t6
\J dispel much of the obscurity at present sur-
Pin. 6.-Map showing rinilning the pe.t. The indications are that it
localities where the is spreading over the alfalfa-growing sections of
alfalfa gall midge has n
been found in the the extreme Southwest. but it. does not neces-
United States. (Orig- :arilv follow from thi.; that it. will prove so
inial.) ,e-triuctive as have many other insects coming
to us from across the Atlantic Oean.
PREVENTIVE MEASUlRES.
It is yet too early to say much concerning measures for preventing
injury by the alfalfa gall midge. Of cour.e, mowing the alfalfa just
as the plants are coming into bloom will doubtless keep the numbers
of thle midge much reduced, as this method tends to prevent develop-
went. and. therefore, to curtail increase in numbers. A significant
observation made at, Sacaton. Ariz., May 27, 1911, by Mr. Smyth, is
quite suggestive. "The galls were found very sparingly in fields
which had been cut for hay less than two months since, and in such
fields from none of the galls had the adults issued. But in one field of
both purple and yellow flowering alfalfa, which had not been from
early spring at any time cut for hay, but rather allowed to run to
'.ed,. the galls were far more plentiful than in other fields. and from
a large percentage of them adults, or parasites, had issued."
Approved:
JAMES WILSON,
Secretary of lrimtvre.
WASHINGTON, D. C.. January 4, 1919.