The current situation

There have been multiple detections of American serpentine leafminer (Liriomyza trifolii) in far-north Queensland’s Torres Strait and in Kununurra, Western Australia. Further detections in the Northern Peninsula Area of Cape York Peninsula are undergoing confirmatory identification.

Further surveillance is being conducted to determine the distribution of the pest.

About the pest

It has a wide host range including beans, celery, chrysanthemum, cucumber, gerbera, gypsophila, lettuce, onion, potato, tomato, peanuts, soybeans, lentils, lupins, faba beans, chickpeas and many more.

The pest is spread through the movement of plant material, soil, clothing and equipment. The adult can fly short distances either unaided or assisted by the wind.

Leaf damage by ASLM occurs through puncture wounds from the adult feeding and laying eggs. Damage is also caused by larvae tunnels or leaf mines (see image) within the leaf tissue.

High infestation levels can reduce plant growth and crop yields.


Production nurseries and growers should check their crops regularly for any plant pests and diseases.

If you suspect you have an ASLM infestation, report it to the department of primary industries or agriculture that is relevant to your state or territory. You can do this by ringing the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Implement good on-farm biosecurity practices to prevent further incursions.

Impacts to trade


ASLM is present across large areas of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas and this suggests that trade issues are likely to be limited if the pest establishes in Australia. However, there are several certification requirements, mainly for seeds, for this pest in the Manual of Importing Country Requirements (MICoR) which may cause some trade implications.

Australian exporters will be notified by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment should importing countries change their requirements.


The ASLM incursion is not expected to change import conditions for the import of plant material into Australia. General pre-export conditions are applied offshore and manage the risk of ASLM.

Domestic trade

Domestic trade restrictions will be considered further by the consultative committee once work to identify the extent of outbreaks in QLD and WA is undertaken, and a final decision is made on technical feasibility of eradication.

There are restrictions already in place in QLD, on the movement of carriers of ASLM from Torres Strait and Cape York Peninsula.

For more information about American serpentine leaf miner, please contact AUSVEG at

Images courtesy of Central Science Laboratory,