Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Cabbage leafminer (377)

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  • Widespread distribution. In Oceania, several Pacific island countries. A major pest of many important vegetables in the cabbage and legume families, and weeds. Identification needs taxonomic expertise.
  • Damage: Eggs laid both sides of leaf under epidermis. Larvae make irregular, pale-coloured mines in leaves that gradually widen; mines have dark green line of faeces in middle. Pupation is in the soil. Adults take sap from leaves (females only) and feed on nectar.
  • Spread is by flying and via international horticultural trade.
  • Biosecurity: trade in horticultural produce across national borders is a risk and needs careful regulation.
  • Natural enemies: many predators and wasp parasitoids.
  • Cultural control: weed, nursery and field; plough exposing pupae before planting; check nursery plants before planting out; avoid overlapping crops; handpick or squash leaves with mines; high-value crops - cover soil with mulch preventing adults emerging; collect and burn debris after harvest.
  • Chemical control: biorational (i) insecticidal soap, white or horticultural oils; (ii) botanicals (chillies, neem, derris, pyrethrum); (iii) microbials (abamectin, spinosad). Avoid organophosphates and synthetic pyrethroids.
Common Name

Cabbage leafminer, Serpentine leafminer (the same common name is given to other leafminers (see Fact Sheets nos. 110, 259, 262 & 377)

Scientific Name

Liriomyza brassicae. See other fact sheets for accounts on separate species (Fact Sheet nos. 259 & 262) and, for a general account, (see Fact Sheet no. 110).

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from CABI (2018) Liriomyza brassicae (serpentine leafminer). Crop Protection Compendium. (; and from Martin NA (2017) Cabbage leafminer - Liriomyza brassicae. Interesting Insects & other Invertebrates, Plant & Food Research. (; and from Liriomyza brassicae (2021) Polyphagous Agromyzid Leafminers. ( Photos 1&2 P Ridland. University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Photos 3&4 Ella Pirtle, cesar, 293, Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria, Australia. Photos 6&7 Peter Ridland. University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/185: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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