What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

Logo: What Bug Is That? Logo: Taxonomy Research & Information Network



Agromyzidae have a worldwide distribution with 27 genera and approximately 2700 species recognised. Fifteen genera are represented in Australia, and although 150 Australian species are named, many remain undescribed. Endemism is high at 84%, and most of the remaining 16% of species occur in adjacent countries. Only five species are considered to be recent introductions. The family is placed in the Opomyzoidea and is divided into two subfamilies, Agromyzinae and Phytomyzinae, based primarily on differences in the terminal part of vein Sc and on differences in the structure of the larval cephalopharyngeal skeleton (Hendel 1931). Spencer (1977) reviewed the Australian species.

Agromyzidae are commonly known as leaf miners although all parts of plants may be attacked by various groups.

The larvae are leaf- or stem-miners and gall inducers. Females deposit the eggs beneath the epidermis of the host plant and the emerging larvae form channels or mines in the plant tissue. The form of the leaf mine is characteristic of each species and can be used as an identification aid. Many species pupate in soil but others pupate in the part of the plant where the larva has been feeding. Larvae of a number of species damage cultivated plants such as peas, beans, brassicae, and celery and are important economically. Spencer (1973) reviewed the economically important species: Melanagromyza pseudograta Spencer, M. sojae (Zehntner) and Ophiomyia phaseoli (Tyron) are serious pests of legumes in Australia (Shepard et al. 1983). Ophiomyia lantanae Froggatt was introduced to Australia as a biocontrol agent for lantana. It lives in the developing fruit and reduces the quantity of seed set.


Small or minute flies (most 2-3mm) with a maximum length of 6.5 mm. Many agromyzids are black or grey, but some are green or yellow.

Head with postocellar setae divergent; lower frontal setae incurved; well-developed vibrissae present. Arista bare or pubescent. Ptilinal fissure sometimes highly arched.

Thorax rectangular, longer than wide; with at least one strong anepisternal seta and one strong katepisternal seta. Pre-apical dorsal tibial seta usually absent on all tibiae.

Wing with cell cup closed; A1+CuA2 well-developed but not reaching wing margin; cell bm partially confluent with cell br; C broken at end of Sc. In Agromyzinae, Sc developed throughout its length, fusing with R1 apically; in Phytomyzinae, Sc incomplete or represented as a fold apically.

Abdomen usually tapered. Female with segment 7 modified into a conical, sclerotised oviscape. Both sexes of Agromyza Fallen and males of Liriomyza Mik have a stridulatory mechanism consisting of a sclerotised ridge on the inner surface of the hind femur (the scraper) and a file of sclerotised scales below the anterior abdominal tergites.


Agromyzids live in a wide range of habitats and have a wide distribution throughout Australia.

  • Agromyzidae

  • Agromyzdiae