Leafminers are insects belonging to different orders: sawflies belong to hymenoptora, flies belong to the order of diptera, and moths that belong to the order lepidoptera. Together, they form a large group of plant pests that are important to cultural crops around the world. Standing out are three flies species: liriomyza trifolii, liriomyza nuidobrensis, and liriomyza bryoniae. Another famous member of the group, but perhaps less intimidating, is the citrus leafminer (phyllocnistis citrilla.)
Feeding patterns are important in helping identify the genus and the species, and it is quiet characteristic. Leafminers are year-long pests that favors warm environments.
The first signs of infestation are tiny yellow dots upon leaves upper surfaces. The spots depict where the female laid her eggs. A week after, maggots begin eating their way inside the leaf tissue thus creating those complex tunnels we recognize so easily. The tunnel provides sufficient living conditions for the larvae. In the following 10 days, the tunnel gets wider and longer. Eventually maggots pop out and fall to the ground where they’ll complete their metamorphosis and turn into a fly after another 10 days.
It’s larvae stage is the one responsible for the actual damage. In a large enough population, it can cause a significant drop in yields due to sabotaging photosynthesis. Another form of damage occurs when the beauty of ornamental plants is ruined or when the look of fresh herbs is degraded, thus making it hard for growers to market them.