"So, naturalists observe, a flea has smaller fleas that on him prey; and these have smaller still to bite ’em; and so proceed ad infinitum."
- Jonathan Swift

May 11, 2010

May 11 - Phyllocnistis citrella

The citrus leafminer, Phyllocnistis citrella, is native to Asia, but has sadly recently invaded many important citrus-growing regions in the New World, including Florida, the Caribbean, and now southern California. These insects are moths and the female lays her eggs on the new leaves of citrus trees. The larvae bury into the leaves and create trails of damage behind them, causing the leaves to uncurl poorly. On top of that, the damage caused by the hungry little caterpillars can leave the trees vulnerable to secondary infections, including citrus canker bacteria, Xanthomonas axonopodis. What's the hope for controlling these persistent pests? Luckily, Nature has answered the call in the form of parasitoids and at least nine species of parasitoid wasps have been documents using the invasive leafminer larvae as hosts, including one that was specifically introduced from Vietnam to control P. citrella after the Florida outbreak called Ageniaspis citricola.


  1. Interesting information. Are you an entomologist Susan?
    Jim Perkins
    South texas

  2. Not at all. I mainly work on malaria parasites.

  3. I visited your website and was very impressed. I work with some parasitic wasps such as Tamarixia radiata for Asian Citrus Psyllids.

    It was nice to see another Perkins in biology. I'm not an entomologist. I studied botany but somehow have worked mostly with insects and met my wife in an entomology class in college.My work is mostly supervising teams that go out and collect leaf samples and Psyllids to be tested for Citrus Greening and we are beginning to add Sweet Orange Scab and several other citrus diseases to our work. If you are ever traveling to the Rio Grande Valley Stop by to say hello.