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Turnip leafminer - Scaptomyza flava

By N A Martin (2017)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Order:
Diptera
Family:
Drosophilidae
Scientific Name:
Scaptomyza (Scaptomyza) flava (Fallen, 1823)
  • Top view of an adult male turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult male turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Turnip leafminer, Brassica Leaf Miner
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Synonyms

Drosophila apicalis Hardy, 1849
Drosophila flava Fallén, 1823
Notiphila flaveola Meigen, 1830
Scaptomyza apicalis (Hardy, 1849)
Scaptomyza flaveola (Meigen, 1830)

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Biostatus and Distribution

This adventive fly from Europe was first found in New Zealand on a farm near Levin in March 1964. Within three growing seasons it was found throughout the North Island and in the South Island and Chatham Islands. It is a leafminer of herbaceous brassicas (Cruciferae or Brassicae), and plants in several other families. It is a pest of Brassica crop plants and some ornamental plants. It also forms leaf mines in some native brassica species.

Conservation status: Widespread leaf miner that is found on some native Cruciferae. It is also a pest of brassica and gypsophila crops.

  • The spread of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae) during three growing seasons after its discovery in March 1964. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Modified from map published in New Zealand Journal of Zoology 2004 vol. 31, pages 27-32, Fig. 1.
    The spread of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae) during three growing seasons after its discovery in March 1964. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Modified from map published in New Zealand Journal of Zoology 2004 vol. 31, pages 27-32, Fig. 1.
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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

The flies breed all year and are often most numerous in late spring and early summer. The presence of young leaves appears to be important for establishment of a population on a plant.

Adult fly
The adult flies are small, about 3-3.5 mm long, about the size of vinegar flies, Drosophila, that are seen around rotting fruit. The flies are coloured is yellow brown, with pale stripes on the mesonotum (segment visible after the head). It is a typical fly, having one pair of wings. The hind pair of wings is reduced to two small knobs, or halteres, which help the fly to balance during flight. They also have three pairs of legs. The male has wide black external genitalia at the end of the abdomen. The female also has a dark terminal segment. In front of this, on the underside, is an ovipositor with a ling slit and a toothed ridge on each side that is used for making holes in young leaves. Eggs are laid in some holes, but most are used for feeding. Males probably also feed on these plant juices. Male and female fly behaviour has been studied by M. Sheekal at Massey University.

Eggs and larvae
Single eggs are inserted into young leaves. A female fly can lay about 130 eggs, most in her first 15 days of adult life. Newly hatched larvae tunnel into leaves. The mine made by the first instar (stage) larva in thin and long. It usually ends by a major leaf vein. After moulting the larva forms a broad wide mine that can form a blotch. Sometimes several larvae occupy the same mine. The larvae feed on the internal cells of the leaf. They have a single black jaw with teeth that is moved from side-to-side, scraping the plant cells at the head of the mine. The plant cells are ingested and the dark green faeces excreted into the mine behind it. The larva moults, or changes skin, as it gets larger. There are three larval stages (instars). The fully grown larva is about 4-5 mm long. Unlike many leaf mining flies, the larva can leave one mine and re-enter a leaf to form another mine. The larva has prominent pointed stigmata (breathing tubes) at its rear end. A pair of pale trachea (air tubes) can be seen running the length of the body from the stigmata.

When the larva is fully grown it cuts a slit in the epidermis (skin of the leaf) and drops to the ground to pupate in the soil or litter.

Pupa
The larva pupates inside its larval skin, which turns dark brown and hard. This structure is called a puparium. The puparium has a pair of stigmata (organs for breathing) at each end of the body.

Fly emergence
When ready to emerge, part of the head, just above the antennae, balloons out. This structure, the ptilinum, pushes the front of the pupa open. There is a line of weakness between the top and bottom halves of the first three-and-a-half segments that splits allowing the top and bottom to open up. After the fly has crawled out of the puparium, the ptilinum retracts into the head, the wings expand, and the body hardens. Over the next 12 hours the fly acquires its full body colour.

The male may be attracted to the leaf punctures made by the female fly. It courts the female before mating. Apparently courting practice increases the chance of successful mating. Both males and females can mate more than once.

  • Top view of an adult male turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult male turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult male turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the black genitalia at the tip of the abdomen.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult male turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the black genitalia at the tip of the abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Top view of an adult female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the dark brown ovipositor with tiny black teeth.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the dark brown ovipositor with tiny black teeth. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of an adult female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the dark brown ovipositor with tiny black teeth (black arrow).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of an adult female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the dark brown ovipositor with tiny black teeth (black arrow). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Tiny holes in leaves of water cress, Nasturtium officinale (Cruciferae), made by the ovipositor of a female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): leaf mines also present.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Tiny holes in leaves of water cress, Nasturtium officinale (Cruciferae), made by the ovipositor of a female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): leaf mines also present. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mine in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), formed by larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the narrow mine that expands into a blotch.  © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mine in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), formed by larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the narrow mine that expands into a blotch. © Plant & Food Research
  • Larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae), dissected from leaf mine: note the dark mandible and supporting skeleton (left end).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae), dissected from leaf mine: note the dark mandible and supporting skeleton (left end). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae), dissected from leaf mine. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae), dissected from leaf mine. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Mandibles and mandibular skeleton of larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Zheng Qi Zhao © Landcare Research
    Mandibles and mandibular skeleton of larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Zheng Qi Zhao © Landcare Research
  • Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae): note the lateral stigmata (air tubes) at the front (top).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the lateral stigmata (air tubes) at the front (top). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae): note the terminal stigmata (air tubes) at the rear end (left).   Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the terminal stigmata (air tubes) at the rear end (left). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Anterior end of the pupariaum of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the branched stigmata (breathing tubes).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Landcare Research
    Anterior end of the pupariaum of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the branched stigmata (breathing tubes). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Landcare Research
  • Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae) after the adult fly has emerged.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae) after the adult fly has emerged. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae) after the adult fly has emerged.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae) after the adult fly has emerged. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Recognition

Adults and larvae of the turnip leaminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae), are distinctive as is the damage the larvae do to their known host plants. The yellow brown adults are about the same size as vinegar flies, Drosophila species. (Drosophilidae). Like Drosophila species they have a plumose arista on the antennae. They are the only drosophilid in New Zealand to have 4 rows of acrostichal setae on the mesonotum (visible segment after the head). The tiny acrostical setae are found in near the centre line of the mesonotum close to the central darker brown line. Other Scaptomyza species in New Zealand have only 2 rows of acrostichal seta.

The larvae have a mandible with four strong teeth and a compact supporting skeleton, whereas the larvae of the Liriomyza species (Agromyzidae) that also form leaf mines in some of the same species of plants, have very different mandible and supporting skeleton that has two thin Y-shaped branches.

The leaf mine formed by the turnip leaminer larva starts as long and narrow. It then broadens to form a blotch that maybe compact and occupied by several larvae. The two Liriomyza species form serpentine mines that gradually widen.

The adults of the cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae, and the New Zealand cress leafminer, Liriomyza watti, (Agromyzidae) are small yellow and black flies. If they are reared from brassica and related plants they can be identified. Adult cabbage leafminers have a shiny black mesonotum (the first visible body segment behind the head, and the first segments of the legs are yellow. Adult New Zealand cress leafminers have black legs except for a very small pale area on the ‘knees’ of the first pair of legs. The mesonotum is dull black and on the scutellum (the next segment of the thorax) the area of yellow is narrower and the lateral black margins are more obvious.

  • Top view of an adult male turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult male turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Top view of an adult female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae): note the 4 rows of tiny acrostichal setae by the central darker brown stripe on the mesonotum and between the long, dark dorsocentral setae.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the 4 rows of tiny acrostichal setae by the central darker brown stripe on the mesonotum and between the long, dark dorsocentral setae. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Front view of an adult turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae): note the plumose arista on the antenna.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Front view of an adult turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the plumose arista on the antenna. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mine in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), formed by larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the narrow mine that expands into a blotch.  © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mine in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), formed by larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the narrow mine that expands into a blotch. © Plant & Food Research
  • Larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae), dissected from leaf mine: note the dark mandible and supporting skeleton (left end).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae), dissected from leaf mine: note the dark mandible and supporting skeleton (left end). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Mandibles and mandibular skeleton of larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Zheng Qi Zhao © Landcare Research
    Mandibles and mandibular skeleton of larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Zheng Qi Zhao © Landcare Research
  • Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae): note the lateral stigmata (air tubes) at the front (top).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae): note the lateral stigmata (air tubes) at the front (top). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Top view of an adult female cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult female cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult female cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult female cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Top view of an adult female New Zealand cress leafminer, Liriomyza watti (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Top view of an adult female New Zealand cress leafminer, Liriomyza watti (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult female New Zealand cress leafminer, Liriomyza watti (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult female New Zealand cress leafminer, Liriomyza watti (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larvae of cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae) in leaf mine in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae): note the serpentine pattern of the mine.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larvae of cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae) in leaf mine in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae): note the serpentine pattern of the mine. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larvae of cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae) dissected from leaf mine in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae): note the yellow colour and the black mandibular skeleton.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larvae of cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae) dissected from leaf mine in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae): note the yellow colour and the black mandibular skeleton. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Puparium of cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Puparium of cabbage leafminer, Liriomyza brassicae (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larva of New Zealand cress leafminer, Liriomyza watti (Diptera: Agromyzidae), dissected from mine leaf in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), note white colour of the larva and the black mandible and mandibular skeleton.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larva of New Zealand cress leafminer, Liriomyza watti (Diptera: Agromyzidae), dissected from mine leaf in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), note white colour of the larva and the black mandible and mandibular skeleton. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Puparium of New Zealand cress leafminer, Liriomyza watti (Diptera: Agromyzidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Puparium of New Zealand cress leafminer, Liriomyza watti (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Natural Enemies

Predators
There are no reports of predators of the flies or puparia, but it is likely that they are preyed upon by birds, spiders and predatory insects. Some female wasp parasitoids feed on leafminer fly larvae as well as parasitising fly larvae.

Parasitoids
Five species of parasitoid wasps have been reared from larvae and puparia of turnip leafminers in New Zealand. The larvae of three species, Asobara sp. near persimilis, Ganaspis sp. and Opius cinerariae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), live in the fly larva and adults emerge from the fly puparium. A fourth parasitoid, an unnamed species, Proacrias n.sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) kills the fly larva and pupates in the leaf mine.

Asobara sp. near persimilis is only found in a small area of South Auckland, but it has been found in up to 80% of fly pupae in mid summer.

Table: Natural enemies of Turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae), from Plant-SyNZ database (10 July 2017). The reliability index shows the quality of evidence for the host association (0-10, 10=high quality).
Scientific NameCommon NameClassificationEnemy TypeReliability IndexBiostatus
Asobara sp. near persimilisTurnip leafminer parasitoid (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Braconidaeparasitoid9adventive
Ganaspis sp.Ganaspis leafminer parasitoid (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Figitidaeparasitoid7adventive
Omphale ? sp (Berry 2003) (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Eulophidaeparasitoid8unknown
Opius cinerariae Fisher, 1963 (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Braconidaeparasitoid9adventive
Proacrias n.sp. (J. Berry 2001) (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Eulophidaeparasitoid7endemic
  • Adult male Turnip leafminer parasitoid, Asobara sp. near persimilis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a larval parasitoid of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult male Turnip leafminer parasitoid, Asobara sp. near persimilis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a larval parasitoid of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult female Turnip leafminer parasitoid, Asobara sp. near persimilis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a larval parasitoid of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult female Turnip leafminer parasitoid, Asobara sp. near persimilis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a larval parasitoid of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae) with an exit hole made by an adult Turnip leafminer parasitoid, Asobara sp. near persimilis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Puparium of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae) with an exit hole made by an adult Turnip leafminer parasitoid, Asobara sp. near persimilis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

The turnip leafminer lives in herbaceous brassicas (Cruciferae or Brassicae), plants with similar sulphur compounds and is also occasionally found in other plants.

In New Zealand it is a pest of some brassica crops and Gypsophila crops. It can occur in garden vegetable and ornamental plants.

The adult female fly makes punctures in young leaves for egg laying and for feeding that can mark the leaf. The larva of the turnip leafminer burrows through the leaf, making mines that are mainly visible on the upper side of leaves. The leaf mine formed by the turnip leaminer larva starts as long and narrow. It then broadens to form a blotch that maybe compact and occupied by several larvae. Larvae can also move to another leaf and start a new mine.

Table: Host plants of the Turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae) from Plant-SyNZ database (12 May 2017). The reliability score shows the quality of evidence for the host association (1-10, 10=high).
Common Name(s)Scientific NameFamilyReliability IndexBiostatus
Onion, Shallot, tree onionAllium cepa L.Alliaceae10naturalised
Antirrhinum, SnapdraggonAntirrhinum majus L.Plantaginaceae8naturalised
Indian mustard, Mustard rapeBrassica juncea (L.) Czern.Cruciferae10naturalised
SwedeBrassica napus L. var. rapifera Metzg.Cruciferae10naturalised
Canola, Rape, SwedeBrassica napus L.Cruciferae10naturalised
CauliflowerBrassica oleracea L. var. botrytis L.Cruciferae10cultivated
Curly kaleBrassica oleracea L. var. sabellica L.Cruciferae10cultivated
CabbageBrassica oleracea L. var. capitataCruciferae10cultivated
Broccoli, Sprouting broccoliBrassica oleracea L. var. italica PlenckCruciferae10naturalised
Chinese cabbage, Santo, Wom bukBrassica rapa L. subsp. pekinensis (Louv.) Hanelt.Cruciferae10cultivated
TurnipBrassica rapa L. var. rapaCruciferae10naturalised
Wild turnipBrassica rapa L. subsp. oleifera (DC.) Metzg.Cruciferae10naturalised
American sea rocketCakile edentula (Bigelow) Hook.Cruciferae10naturalised
Sea rocketCakile maritima Scop.Cruciferae10naturalised
 Cardamine debile agg. DCCruciferae10endemic
Wavy bitter cressCardamine flexuosa With.Cruciferae10naturalised
Bitter cress, Common bitter cress, Hairy bitter cressCardamine hirsuta L.Cruciferae10naturalised
English wallflower, WallflowerCheiranthus cheiri L.Cruciferae10naturalised
Spider flowerCleome spCleomaceae7cultivated
Arugula, Italian cress, Jamba, Rocket, Roquette, Salad rocketEruca vesicaria (L.) Cav.Cruciferae10naturalised
Californian poppyEschscholzia californica Cham.Papaveraceae10naturalised
 Gypsophila sp. 'commercial cultivar' of Martin 1999Caryophyllaceae10cultivated
Dame's violet, Sweet rocketHesperis matronalis L.Cruciferae10naturalised
Lesser swinecress, Twin cressLepidium didymum L.Cruciferae10naturalised
Cook's scurvy grass, Heketara, Nau, NgauLepidium oleraceum G.Forst. ex Sparrm.Cruciferae8indigenous, non-endemic
Narrow-leaved cressLepidium pseudotasmanicum ThellCruciferae10naturalised
Alyssum, Sweet Alice, Sweet alyssumLobularia maritima (L.) Desv.Cruciferae10naturalised
HonestyLunaria annua L.Cruciferae10naturalised
Egyptian lupin, Field lupin, White lupin, Wolf beanLupinus albus L.Leguminosae10cultivated
Watercress, One rowed watercress, KōwhitiwhitiNasturtium microphyllum Boenn. ex Rchb.Cruciferae10naturalised
Watercress, True watercress, KōwhitiwhitiNasturtium officinale W.T.AitonCruciferae10naturalised
PetuniaPetunia ×atkinsiana (Sweet) D.Don ex W.H.BaxterSolanaceae10naturalised
Scarlet runner bean, Dutch case-knife beanPhaseolus coccineus L.Leguminosae10naturalised
Field pea, Garden pea, Snow peaPisum sativum L.Leguminosae10naturalised
Sea raddishRaphanus raphanistrum L. subsp. maritumus (Smith) Thell.Cruciferae9naturalised
Wild raddishRaphanus raphanistrum L. subsp. raphanistrumCruciferae10naturalised
RaddishRaphanus sativus L.Cruciferae10naturalised
MatangoaRorippa divaricata (Hook.f.) Garn.-Jones & JonsellCruciferae10indigenous, non-endemic
Hedge mustardSisymbrium officinale (L.) Scop.Cruciferae10naturalised
Potato, Hīwai, Huiwaiwaka, Kapana, Mahetau, Parareka, Parate, Rīwai, Taewa, TaewhaSolanum tuberosum L.Solanaceae10naturalised
Garden nasturtium, Indian cress, NasturtiumTropaeolum majus L.Tropaeolaceae10naturalised
Dwarf nasturtium, Bush nasturtiumTropaeolum minimus L.Tropaeolaceae10cultivated
  • Leaf mines in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in Cardamine debilis (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Leaf mines in Cardamine debilis (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Leaf mines in Wavy bitter cress, Cardamine flexuosa (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in Wavy bitter cress, Cardamine flexuosa (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in water cress, Nasturtium officinale (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in water cress, Nasturtium officinale (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in Dame's violet, Hesperis matronalis (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in Dame's violet, Hesperis matronalis (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in Wild raddish, Raphanus raphanistrum (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in Wild raddish, Raphanus raphanistrum (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in Wallflower, Cheiranthus cheiri (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in Wallflower, Cheiranthus cheiri (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in Gypsophila sp. (Caryophyllaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in Gypsophila sp. (Caryophyllaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in Onion, Allium cepa (Alliaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  © Landcare Research
    Leaf mines in Onion, Allium cepa (Alliaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). © Landcare Research
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Control

In New Zealand the turnip leafminer is principally a pest of Cruciferae (= Brassicae), peas and Gypsophila. It is a serious pest of leafy brassicas such as Bok Choi and Chinese cabbage, radish and unsprayed forage crops such as turnips and oil seed rape/canola. It is also a pest of brassica crops grown for seed. At present only insecticides can be used. The wasp parasitoid, Asobara sp. near persimilis, can kill up to 80% of fly pupae in mid summer. Unfortunately it is only found in a small area of South Auckland. An attempt has been made to establish it in the South Island.

The turnip leafminer and two other fly leaf miners have been found in watercress, Nasturtium officinale (Cruciferae), but have not been reported causing problems in commercial crops.

In gardens, the three species of brassica leaf mining flies form mines in garden nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus (Tropaeolaceae), but infestations do not usually warrant control.

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Information Sources

Martin NA. 2004. History of an invader, Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae). New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 31 (1): 27-32.

Martin NA. 2012. Ecological studies of Scaptomyza flava (Fallen, 1823) (Diptera: Drosophilidae) and its parasitoids. New Zealand Entomologist. 35: 58-67.

Martin N, MacDonald F. 2009. Evaluating the impact of insecticides on Scaptomyza flava and its parasitoid, Asobara persimilis. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science. 37: 243-252.

Plant-SyNZ: Invertebrate herbivore-host plant association database. plant-synz.landcareresearch.co.nz/.

Shakeel M, He XZ, Martin NA, Hanan A, Wang Q. 2009. Diurnal periodicity of adult eclosion, mating and oviposition of the European leafminer Scaptomyza flava (Fallén) (Diptera: Drosophilidae). New Zealand Plant Protection 62: 80-85.

Shakeel M, He XZ, Martin NA, Hanan A, Wang Q. 2010. Mating behaviour of the European leafminer Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). New Zealand Plant Protection 63: 108-112.

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Acknowledgements

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

Landcare Research New Zealand Limited (Landcare Research) for permission to use photographs.

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Other Images

  • Leaf mines in Antirrhinum, Antirrhinum majus (Plantaginaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in Antirrhinum, Antirrhinum majus (Plantaginaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in Matangoa, Rorippa divaricata (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in Matangoa, Rorippa divaricata (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in Alyssum, Lobularia maritima (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in Alyssum, Lobularia maritima (Cruciferae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mines in Petunia, Petunia ×atkinsiana (Solanaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae).  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mines in Petunia, Petunia ×atkinsiana (Solanaceae), made by larvae of turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera:  Drosophilidae), dissected from leaf mine. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larvae of the turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae), dissected from leaf mine. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Dead adult male and female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae) and dead adult male and female Turnip leafminer parasitoid, Asobara sp. near persimilis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) with a fly pupariam of the fly.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Dead adult male and female turnip leafminer, Scaptomyza flava (Diptera: Drosophilidae) and dead adult male and female Turnip leafminer parasitoid, Asobara sp. near persimilis (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) with a fly pupariam of the fly. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Update History

10 July 2017 NA Martin. Natural Enemies revised, Ganaspis sp added.

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Suggested Citation

Martin NA. 2017. Turnip leafminer - Scaptomyza (Scaptomyza) flava. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 92. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

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