Tuta absoluta / Tomatoes leaf miner.
Nature of damage
Tuta absoluta is a devastating pest of Tomato. It is originated from South America.This pest is crossing boarders and devastating tomato production both protected and open fields. The infestation of Tuta absoluta also reported on potato, eggplant and common beans. The larvae of Tuta absoluta mine the leaves producing large galleries and burrow into the fruit, causing a substantial loss of tomato production in protected and open filed cultivations. The larvae feed on mesophyll tissues and make irregular mine on leaf surface. Damage can reach up to 100%. This pest damage occurs throughout the entire growing cycle of tomatoes. Tuta absoluta has a very high reproduction capability. There are up to 10-12 generations in year in favorable conditions. The larvae are very unlikely to enter diapause as long as food source is available. Tuta absoluta can overwinter as eggs, pupae and adults. Adult female could lay hundreds of eggs during her life time. Tomato plants can be attacked from seedlings to mature plants. In tomato infestation found on apical buds, leaves, and stems, flowers and fruits, on which the black frass is visible. On potato, mainly aerial parts are attacked. However damage on tuber also recently reported.
Adult moths are grey-brown, approximately 6 mm in size and have a wing-span of 10 mm. Males are somewhat darker than females. Newly hatched caterpillars are small (0.5 mm) in size and yellowish. When maturing, caterpillars turn yellow-green and a black band develops behind the head. Fully-grown caterpillars measure approximately 9 mm with a pinkish color on their back. Pupae are light brown and approximately 6 mm.
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