Research: Citrus Leafminer
The citrus leafminer is a Gracillariidae moth also known as Phyllocnistis citrella.
It was first reported in 1993 from nurseries in south Florida. The moth is approximately
4mm in wingspan. The wings are white with a black spot on the tip of the forewings.
The observable damage is inflicted by the larvae, which mines the citrus leaves
constructing their characteristic tunnels. The pupa forms a pupal cell usually close
to the margin of the leaves. Sue to the size and mobility, adults are difficult
to see; however, they ca be found actively flying during the evenings.
The host plants for this species include all citrus and related Rutacea plants.
Eggs are laid individually on the abaxial surface of the leaves. When the larvae
emerge they get into the leaf and begin to feed forming the characteristic serpentine
mines. Older trees (>4 years) can tolerate citrus leafminer damage. Smaller trees
can be affected by the distortion of the affected newly growing leaves. In places
where canker is a concern, such as Florida, opening left by the emerging adults
are considered to be a place where citrus canker can access the plant.
Our lab conducts research on citrus leafminer management using natural enemies and