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Completed project

RD&E program for control, eradication and preparedness for vegetable leafminer (MT16004)

Key research provider: Cesar, in conjunction with others
Publication date: Tuesday, March 16, 2021

What was it all about?

Spanning from 2017 to 2020, this project assisted the vegetable industry prepare and protect against the potential spread of the vegetable leafminer (Liriomyza sativae), American serpentine leafminer (Liriomyza trifolii) and serpentine leafminer (Liriomyza huidobrensis).

The project helped bolster industry preparedness through a range of activities…

  • Investigated biological and chemical control options and management guidelines for the three leafminers
  • Developed leafminer surveillance information and toolkits for industry and government
  • Updated existing contingency plans to ensure industry preparedness
  • Completed incursion pathway analysis for the Torres Strait populations of vegetable leafminer, using overseas samples and next-generation molecular sequencing tools
  • Modeled the potential spread and establishment risk of the leafminers to inform control and extension efforts, and to validate incursion pathway analysis
  • Increased community awareness about vegetable leafminer on the Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait Islands
  • Developed information packages for industry that provide scientifically robust methods for monitoring, eradication, and management
  • Communicated findings and increased industry understanding and awareness of the three leafminers.

The project team engaged with vegetable, potato, melon and nursery growers across all horticultural producing states and territories in Australia, and a total of 19 workshops, eight webinars, numerous videos and a podcast were delivered.

Two online interactive web tools were created by the project:

  • The VLM portal, which includes maps of vegetable leafminer distribution, host plant distributions (weeds and cultivated crops), parasitoid distributions, vegetable leafminer establishment risk predictions and spread risk predictions.
  • The DARABUG2 lifecycle estimation tool, which allows lifecycle stage durations to be calculated across regions and seasons for the three leafminers.

Key recommendations from the project are:

  • The novel in-field diagnostics and surveillance guidelines for leaf miners and flies should be integrated into existing government and industry early detection programs.
  • The establishment potential and spread rate predictions should be used by government and industry to prioritise the timing and locations of early detection surveillance programs for Liriomyza pests.
  • Growers and advisors should familiarise themselves with recommended Liriomyza specific IPM principles and monitoring tools.


Get more information and access a range of resources from the project on the AUSVEG website project page as well as through the project extension package on Dropbox (open in Google Chrome).

Access the online tools created by the project:

Following an engagement and extension mission in the Torres Strait and Northern Peninsula Area, a scoping study report now provides insights into key biosecurity risks and transmission pathways.

View a leafminer awareness poster and flyer for growers, councils, schools and tourism hotspots in at-risk regions.

A range of web articles were published throughout the project, which can be accessed on the Cesar Australia website.

Read article VLM pest profile Keep an eye out for the vegetable leafminer on p 16 of WA Grower magazine (Autumn 2020).

Watch the Exotic Leafminer webinar series and a video on Biosecurity lessons in planning and response for the vegetable industry.

Listen to a podcast on InfoVeg Radio, Vegetable Leafminer: Protecting our industry from a destructive pest which talks about the project and gives an overview on activities.

Visit the APVMA’s website to search for permit information.


978 0 7341 4677 9

Funding statement:
This project was funded through Hort Innovation using multiple industry levies and contributions from the Australian Government.

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2021. The Final Research Report (in part or as a whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation, except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).