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Vegetable leaf miner

An isolated case of vegetable leaf miner has been detected at Seisia on Cape York Peninsula. Biosecurity Queensland is asking residents to be on the lookout for symptoms of vegetable leaf miner and to report any suspect cases to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

  • adult vegetable leaf miner on a leaf
    adult vegetable leaf miner on a leaf
  • vegetable leaf miner
    vegetable leaf miner

General information

Vegetable leaf miner (Liriomyza sativae) is a fly-like pest,which is a serious threat to Australia's plant industries. It is polyphagous(feeds on many species), and can cause significant damage to a diverse range ofcommon horticultural crops and ornamental plant species. Some economicallyimportant weed and cultivated crop hosts include squash, okra, pea, tomato,bean, cabbage, turnip, potato, tobacco, cotton, radish, spinach, watermelon,beet, pepper, alfalfa, clover, vetch and plantain. A single incident was recorded in Australia in 2015. This was an isolated incident and ongoing monitoring is occurring.


What it looks like        

Adult vegetable leaf miners are small, greyish-black fly-like insects.They have a yellow and black body, 1.3 - 2.3mm in length.

Where it occurs        

Vegetable leaf miner is present in neighbouring Timor Leste and also hasalso been found on seven of the Torres Strait islands and is suspected onanother two. It is not considered feasible to eradicate vegetable leaf miner for the Torres Strait Islands. Originally from South America, vegetable leafminer has spreadacross the world into North and Central America, parts of Africa (Cameroon,Sudan, Zimbabwe), Asia (China, India, Oman, Thailand, Yemen), and the PacificIslands (American Samoa, Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Micronesia, NewCaledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Samoa and Vanuatu).


Vegetable leaf minercan cause significant damage to host plants. Damage is caused by larvae feedingunder the surface of leaves and petioles. Typically, this feeding causes long,narrow 'mines' which appear as white or grey lines on leaves (and can also looklike coils) widening towards the end. Damage caused by vegetable leaf minersconsiderably reduces the growth and development of seedlings and young plants,and can lead to plant death.

The presence of unsightlyleaf damage in ornamental plants can lead to reduced market value.
Quarantine restrictions        

The Torres Strait has special quarantine requirements that prohibit thesouthward movement of the following products south from the Torres StraitProtected Zone to the Special Quarantine Zone, and any Torres Strait island tomainland Australia without a permit from the Australian Department ofAgriculture.

  • untreated hides or skins or other animal products
  • meat or dairy products (excluding canned items)
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • live animals, including insects
  • live plants, including cuttings, seedlings or plant products
  • poultry products, including eggs or feathers with skin still attached, and
  • soil

Liriomyza sativae is listed as a far northern pest under the Biosecurity Regulation 2016. The movement of host materials for this pest is restricted from the Far Northern Biosecurity Zones under the Biosecurity Regulation 2016.

Under this legislation, the pest or a plant that could carry the pest cannot be moved out of the zones without biosecurity instrument permit.

Biosecurity Queensland inspectors at the Coen Information and Inspection Centre check vehicles moving south from Cape York Peninsula to ensure that pests are not carried from the zone.

Your cooperation in complying with these restrictions will help protect Queensland from exotic pests and diseases.

If you are unsure about quarantine and movement restrictions, contact the Customer Service Centre.

Last updated 15 May 2017