Harts Pond / Fall - Leaf Miner Tunnels
These markings show the activity of a leaf miner larva. These minute worms are small enough to fit between the top and bottom layer of a leaf and they eat away at the leaf as they move. The dark lines and specks are excretion from the larva.
The larvae drop from the leaf to the ground to pupate for a couple of weeks and emerge as small files, wasps or beetles (any of these are possible), and then repeat the cycle.
Parasitic wasps can find these larvae and lay their eggs in or next to the leaf miner. The wasp larva then feed on the leaf miner larva.
Chickadees and other small insectivorous birds aklso feed on them.