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Serpentine leafminer: WA imposes entry requirements on plants and equipment

New entry requirements into Western Australia (WA) to restrict movement of the exotic pest serpentine leafminer (Liriomyza huidobrensis) came into effect on 4 December 2020. This follows the confirmed detection of serpentine leafminer on a number of commercial vegetable properties in the Fassifern Valley (about 90 km south-west of Brisbane).

Adult serpentine leafminer. Central Science Laboratory, Harpenden, British Crown, Bugwood.org

Serpentine leafminer flies, eggs, larvae and pupae can be spread through the movement of plant material, soil, clothing and equipment.

Anyone wanting to move serpentine leafminer host material into WA must adhere to import requirement C98; which applies to the entry of:

• host plants and parts of host plants of serpentine leafminer including green, leafy or legume vegetables, fresh herbs, fruit with attached green material, cut flowers and foliage, and nursery stock
• machinery and equipment used in association with soil or host plant material.

For more information, contact WA’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development on (08) 9368 3333 or visit its website.

Crops affected by serpentine leafminer

Pupae of the serpentine leafminer. Merle Shepard, Gerald R.Carner, and P.A.C Ooi, Bugwood.org

Serpentine leafminer, also known as pea leafminer or South American leafminer, poses a serious economic threat to Australia’s horticulture and nursery production plant industries. It has a wide host range including broccoli, beet, spinach, peas, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, melons and cut flowers.

Its larvae feed internally on plant tissue, particularly the leaf, causing distinctive mine damage which may appear as pale ‘squiggly’ or ‘serpentine’ patterns. Severe unmanaged infestations may result in premature leaf drop, poor growth and reduced crop yields.

Report Queensland sightings

Producers and agriculture consultants are strongly encouraged to photograph and report suspect sightings of serpentine leafminer by calling 13 25 23 or emailing [email protected] Information on the current extent of the outbreak may assist growers to prepare for its arrival.

Management and control

Serpentine mines on an onion leaf caused by the feeding larvae. Merle Shepard, Gerald R.Carner, and P.A.C Ooi, Bugwood.org

Growers should have on-farm biosecurity measures to protect their crops from pests and diseases. More information is available at farmbiosecurity.com.au or biosecurity.qld.gov.au.

Integrated pest management options are likely to be more effective than chemical suppression in the control of serpentine leafminer. Find information about current control methods and recommended chemical management options here.

More information

Visit daf.qld.gov.au for more information about serpentine leafminer including pest life cycle description, impacts and leafminer fact sheets.