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.
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