T. absoluta is native to South America and has established in parts of Southern Europe, North Africa and the whole of Mediterranean countries. More specifically T. absoluta has been reported in Italy, France, Malta, United Kingdom, Greece, Switzerland, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Albania. Other countries in Africa with confirmed reports include Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Senegal, Niger, Nigeria etc and we now confirm that it is in Ghana. Samples collected as a result of reports received from a greenhouse company at Berekusu in the Eastern region (coordinates Lat: 5.759675 Long: -0.231315) of Ghana were initially identified by a curator as Tuta absoluta and was confirmed through molecular identification by CABI UK. The pest has since been reported in Western and Brong Ahafo regions. The extent of spread and population dynamics within the affected regions are yet to be determined.
T. absoluta is a devastating pest on tomato with the caterpillar being the damaging stage of the pest. T. absoluta feeds mainly on tomato as its host plant but has also been reported on 22 other crops most of which belongs to the genus solanacae. Life cycle from egg to adult range from 46-61 days and can undergo up to 10-12 generations in a year with overlapping generations. Adult female can lay 250-300 eggs in life time.
The larvae feed on mesophyll tissues of leaves producing large irregular mines on leaf surface. The larvae also burrow into the fruits and their feeding activities both in the leaves and fruits causes significant damage to tomato production. Losses can be up to 100% in green houses and open fields. Every stage of the plant is prone to T. absoluta attack and parts of the plant affected are the apical buds, leaves, stem, flowers and fruits.
Contact for info
Mr. Ebenezer Aboagye
Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Directorate
Ministry of Food and Agriculture
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]