Occurrence and Population Dynamics of Tomato Leaf Miner [Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae] in Eastern Ethiopia

  • Muluken Goftishu Haramaya University
  • Awol Seid Haramaya University
  • Nigussie Dechassa Haramaya University


The dangerous tomato leaf miner pest (Tuta absoluta), which was reported to have crossed into Ethiopia via the Sudan in 2012, has scared tomato producing farmers across the country. Therefore, a study was conducted using pheromone traps to elucidate the occurrence of the insect pest and to monitor its population build-up in eastern Ethiopia. Pheromone traps were placed in the greenhouse for two months (February - March 2014) and in the open-field tomato crops for one week to monitor the tomato leaf miner moth. Examination of the traps was carried out at seven-day intervals, and the dispenser was replaced every 15 days. There was a linear increment in the number of captured moths during the surveyed time both in the greenhouse and in the open-field tomato crops. The number of moths captured ranged from 27 - 47 and 103 - 255 in the open-field and in the greenhouse, respectively. Thus, based on the examination of the traps, the presence of Tuta absoluta was confirmed for the first time in eastern Ethiopia. In the greenhouse, the larvae of the tomato leaf miner inflicted a heavy damage on young tomato plants. As a result, young plants died before flowering. The results of the study have revealed that the pest is likely to cause heavy losses in tomato crops on an unprecedented scale in the Eastern part of the country. Therefore, monitoring the pest in all tomato producing regions of the country is a vital step towards early detection and decision-making to take integrated management measures against the outbreak of the infestation.

Keywords: Larvae; Leaf Miner; Moth; Pheromone Trap; Population Dynamics; Pupation; Tomato; Tuta absoluta


Addis Fortune. 2013. Tomato in danger: newspaper report, Volume 14. No. 685. Sunday, 16 June 2013.

Al-Zaidi, S. 2009. Recommendations for the Detection and Monitoring of Tuta absoluta. Russell IPM. (http://www.russellipm.com) (Accessed on September 24, 2013).

Barrientos, Z. R. Apablaza, H. J. Norero, S. A. and Estay, P. P. 1998. Threshold temperature and thermal constant for development of the South American tomato moth, Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae). Cienciae Investigacion Agraria 25: 133 - 137.

CFIA. 2010. Tomato leaf miner- Tuta absoluta Pest Fact Sheet. (http://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/plant-protection/insects/tomato-leafminer/fact-sheet/eng/1328634442933/1328887251933.) (Accessed on August 03, 2013).

CIP (International Potato Center). 1996. Major Potato Diseases, Insects and Nematodes, 3rd edn. Centro International de la papa, Lima (PE).

Desneux, N. Wajnberg, E. Wyckhuys, K. A. G. Burgio, G. Arpaia, S. Narvaez-Vasquez, C. A. Gonzalez-Cabrera, J. Catalan Ruescas, D. Tabone, E. Frandon, J. Pizzol, J. Poncet, C. Cabello, T. and Urbaneja, A. 2010. Biological invasion of European tomato crops by Tuta absoluta: ecology, geographic expansion and prospects for biological control. Journal of Pest Science 83: 197 - 215.

EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization). 2008. First record of Tuta absoluta in Spain. EPPO Reporting Service 1, 2.

EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization). 2009a. Tuta absoluta found on Phaseolus vulgaris in Sicilia (IT). EPPO Reporting Service 8, 3.

EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization). 2009b. First report of Tuta absoluta in France. EPPO Reporting Service 1 (003): 2 - 3.

Gashawbeza, A. and Abiy, F. 2012. Occurrence of a new leaf mining and fruit boring moth of tomato, Tuta absoluta (Meyric) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Ethiopia. Pest Management Journal of Ethiopia 16: 57 - 61.

Harizanova, V. Stoeva, A. and Mohamedova, M. 2009. Tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta (Povolny) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) – first record in Bulgaria. Agricultural Science and Technology 1 (3): 95 - 98.

Hassan, N. and Al-Zaidi, S. 2010. Tuta absoluta – pheromone mediated management strategy. International Journal of Pest Control 52 (3): 158 - 160.

Korycinska, A. and Moran, H. 2009. South American tomato moth Tuta absoluta. Food and Environment Research Agency. Plant Pest Notice, No. 56.

Lemma, D. 2002. Tomatoes. Research experience and production prospects. Research report p. 43. Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. p. 48.

Mohamed, E. S. I. Mohamed, M. E. and Gamiel, S. E. 2012. First record of the tomato leaf miner, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Sudan. EPPO Bulletin 42 (2): 325 - 327.

NAPPO (North American Plant Protection Organization). 2012. Surveillance Protocol for the Tomato Leaf Miner, Tuta absoluta, for NAPPO Member Countries.
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/plant_exports/downloads/Tuta_absoluta_surveillanceprotocol_08-06-2012-e.pdf. (Accessed on April 18, 2014).

Potting, R. D, Jan van der Gaag, A. Loomans, M. van der Straten, H. Anderson, A. MacLeod, J. Castrillon, M. G. and Cambra, G. V. 2009. Tuta absoluta, Tomato leaf miner moth or South American tomato moth. Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LVN) Plant Protection Service of the Netherlands. (http://www.minlnv.nl/cdlpub/servlet/ CDLServlet? p_file_id=42402). (Accessed on August 15, 2013).

Russell IPM. 2012. Tuta absoluta products. (http://russellipmagriculture.com/ solutions.php?id_ctg=1&lang=en). (Accessed, September 10, 2013).

Torres, J. B. Faria, C. A. Evangelista, W. S. and Pratissoli, D. 2001. Within-plant distribution of the leaf miner Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) immatures in processing tomatoes, with notes on plant phenology. International Journal of Pest Management 47: 173 – 178.

Tsedeke, A. and Gashawbeza, A. 1997. Sources of fruit worm resistance in tomato. Pest Management Journal of Ethiopia 1 (1 & 2): 1 - 7.

Tosevski, I. Jovic, J. Mitrovic, M, Cvrkovic, T. Krstic, O. and Krnjajic, S. 2011. Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae): a new pest of tomato in Serbia. Pesticide Phytomed. 26 (3): 197 - 204.

Witzgall, P. Kirsch, P. and Cork, A. 2010. Sex pheromones and their impacts on pest management. Journal of Chemical Ecology 36: 80 - 100.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

Obs.: This plugin requires at least one statistics/report plugin to be enabled. If your statistics plugins provide more than one metric then please also select a main metric on the admin's site settings page and/or on the journal manager's settings pages.