What to look for
Leaves with long, white meandering trails (mines) on the leaf surface.
What you can do
- Do not move plants, plant material or fresh vegetables out of the Torres Strait Protected Zone to the Torres Strait Permanent Biosecurity Monitoring Zone, or from either zone to mainland Australia without a permit and an inspection by a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources biosecurity officer.
- Report any signs of vegetable leafminer to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources by phone on +61 7 4241 7800 or email
Vegetable leafminer is a tiny black and yellow fly that attacks many different vegetables as well as ornamentals and cotton plants. The fly lays eggs into the leaves and larvae make tunnels inside the leaf as they feed.
Vegetable leafminer damage on a pumpkin plant
Image shows an adult leaf miner that grows to 2 mm long
Leafminer damage is a meandering track under the surface of the leaf. The track is white, often with an obvious trail of dark waste material inside.
Vegetable leafminer is native to the Americas but has spread to most parts of the world. It recently established on some islands in Torres Strait.
This pest is a significant threat to our cotton and vegetable industries, as well as our home gardens.
Keep a Top Watch!
Plants, plant material and vegetables are prohibited from entering Australia or moving south from Torres Strait without a permit from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Alert the department if you see tracks in the leaves of castor oil plants or vegetables such as tomatoes, pumpkins, lettuce or melons.
Vegetable leafminer damage on a tomato plant
Report white, wavy tracks in the leaves of tomatoes and other vegetables.
Vegetable leafminer damage on a castor oil plant