Leafminer larvae tunnel between the upper and lower layers of a leaf, producing a visible trail of random, squiggling lines that are usually lighter in color than the leaf itself. These insects attack many vegetable crops, including spinach, beets, lettuce, and tomatoes.
Various types of insects are classified as leafminers. The most common is the larvae of a tiny black fly. These flies lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves. After hatching, the larvae tunnel into the leaf to feed, where they are protected from predators. There are two to three generations per year. Leafminers are found throughout North America.
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