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tomato leafminer

Tuta absoluta


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)

List of symptoms / signs

Fruit - abnormal shape
Fruit - frass visible
Fruit - internal feeding
Fruit - obvious exit hole
Fruit - premature drop
Fruit - reduced size
Growing point - dead heart
Growing point - distortion
Growing point - frass visible
Growing point - internal feeding; boring
Growing point - lesions
Inflorescence - external feeding
Inflorescence - fall or shedding
Inflorescence - frass visible
Inflorescence - internal feeding
Leaves - abnormal forms
Leaves - external feeding
Leaves - frass visible
Leaves - internal feeding
Leaves - leaves rolled or folded
Leaves - necrotic areas
Stems - dead heart
Stems - dieback
Stems - distortion
Stems - internal feeding
Stems - visible frass
Stems - wilt
Stems - witches broom
Whole plant - dead heart
Whole plant - distortion; rosetting
Whole plant - frass visible
Whole plant - internal feeding
Whole plant - plant dead; dieback

Prevention and control

Cultural Control

Ploughing, manuring, irrigation, crop rotation, solarisation, and the elimination of symptomatic leaves and destruction of infested tomato plants have all been used to control this pest. The removal of alternative reservoir hosts such as nightshades is strongly recommended before and during the cropping cycle. In greenhouses, one of the management tactics used to reduce the initial level of populations is to keep infested greenhouses closed after harvest to prevent the migration of adults to open-field crops. Alternating host crops, mainly tomato and potato, with non-host cultures can ensure a long-term reduction in pest pressure.

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:

This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC); For information on how to access the CPC, click here.


Following its introduction into Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, T. absoluta has already caused extensive economic damage. The impact of the pest includes severe yield loss reaching 100%, increasing tomato prices, bans on the trade of tomato including seedlings, an increase in synthetic insecticide applications, disruption of integrated management programmes of other tomato pests, and an increase in the cost of crop protection. In addition, the outbreak of this pest led to a significant augmentation of risks for growers, consumers and the environment associated with the blind use of chemicals (USDA-APHIS, 2012; Zappalà et al., 2012; Zlof and Suffert, 2012). Considering its high biotic potential, its ability to adapt to various climatic conditions and the speed with which it has colonized Europe and North Africa, the potential invasion of African and especially Asian tomato crops by T. absoluta will probably impact heavily on the livelihood of local tomato growers and tomato agribusinesses in these regions.