Tuta absoluta

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Tuta absoluta (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Marja van der Straten, NVWA Plant Protection Service, Netherlands
Source: IPM Images

Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) - (South American tomato moth)

The moth is an important leaf miner of tomatoes which was originally confined to South America. It was first recorded from southern Europe in 2006 and has spread rapidly around Europe and into neighbouring regions. Subsequently it reached western Asia (e.g. first record from Iran in 2010) and eastern Africa (first record from Sudan in 2010 and from Ethiopia in 2013).

The larvae mine the young leaves (also the stems and fruits) of tomatoes and can cause substantial damage which can result in total crop losses. The mines are typically broad (unlike mines of Liriomyza) and may have an oak-leaf shape. Some other crops can be also attacked.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Tomatenminiermotte
• English: South American tomato moth
tomato leaf miner
• Español: polilla del tomate
• Français: mineuse de la tomate
• Português: traça-do-tomateiro

The life-cycle from egg, through 4 instars, to mature adult is completed in about 1 month. Pupation takes place in the soil. There are up to 12 generations per year.

The moth is about 6 mm long with a wingspan of around 10 mm. It is brownish in color. The antennae have alternate light and dark brown bands. The forewings are speckled with many lighter and darker patches and spots. The hindwings are silvery with fringes of long hairs.

Synonyms:
Scrobipalpula absoluta
Scrobipalpuloides absoluta

For a review see Biondi et al. (2018).