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Morphological characterization of leaf mines in species of Melastomataceae in Atlantic Forest, Pernambuco, Brazil

This study describes the morphology and anatomy of whole and mined leaves of five species of Melastomataceae native to an Atlantic Forest fragment in Pernambuco, Brazil. Mines can be found on one or both sides of the leaves, with a sinuous or rectilinear pattern, and distributed between the veins or throughout the entire leaf blade. These characteristics are distinct for each species. The leaves, in cross section, have a uniseriate epidermis, stomata on the abaxial surface, and unbranched hairs on both or at least one side. The mesophyll is bifacial and the vascular bundle is semi-circular. The leaf-miner larvae observed in Miconia minutiflora (Bonpl.) DC., M. albicans (Sw.) Triana and Clidemia capitellata (Bonpl.) D. Don consume the palisade and spongy parenchyma, while those found in M. prasina (Sw.) DC. and M. ciliata (Rich.) DC. feed only on the anticlinal walls of epidermal cells. All of these larvae, therefore, are characterized as parenchymatic miners. In Miconia minutiflora, M. albicans and C. capitellata the epidermis remains intact and offers some protection to the miners, while in M. prasina and M. ciliata only the periclinal walls of epidermal cells and leaf cuticle remain to offer protection. Wound tissue was observed along mines in M. prasina.

herbivory; leaf mines; Melastomataceae; plant anatomy; plant-insect interaction


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