Vegetable Leaf Miner

Vegetable Leafminer

Vegetable Leaf Miner Photo: TAMU.edu

Do your tomato plants look healthy but the leaves look like something is making tunnels? That might be the work of the vegetable leaf miner, the larva of a fly, Liriomyza brassicae. Vegetable leafminers pupate in soil and develop into adults in 1-2 weeks. They lay eggs on the leaves of tomatoes and other vegetables. The larva hatches after about 3 days and enters the mesophyll of the leaf to feed on the cells between the upper and lower leaf surfaces. The larva moves forward as it feeds creating a tunnel. The small end of the tunnel is where the newly hatched larva entered. The large end is where it left the leaf. It requires only about a week to feed, develop and drop from the leaf into the soil to form a pupa. It requires a week or more to develop from pupa to adult. The flies can produce a new generation every 3-4 weeks. Damage may be slight at first, but populations can quickly grow large enough to cause reduction in productivity.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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