Emerging Pest Alert

First detection of tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta) in Spain

Scientific Name: Tuta absoluta

Describer: Meyrick (1917), Povolny (1994)

Common Name: tomato leafminer

Title: First detection of tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta) in Spain


Significance: In 2006, Tuta absoluta was found for the first time in Spain. In 2007, the pest was detected in several places along the Mediterranean coast, including the island of Ibiza. Tuta absoluta is a pest of tomato in many South American countries. Larvae can feed on all parts of tomato plants and can damage all growth stages. Larvae produce large galleries in leaves, burrow into stalks, apical buds, and green and ripe fruits, causing yield losses in various production regions and production systems. Chemical control is the main method of control for T. absoluta in South America, but effective control is difficult to achieve because the larvae are internal feeders.

Issues of Concern: Until this first record in Spain, T. absoluta was absent from Europe. Losses of up to 100% have been observed in Spain on infested tomato crops.

Pathways: Host plants imported for planting and fruits of tomato are considered pathways of introduction. Potato tubers are not attacked and therefore are not considered a likely source of introduction.

Hosts: The main host plant is tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum), but T. absoluta can also attack potato (S. tuberosum), pepino (S. muricatum) and other solanaceous plants such as: Datura stramoniumD. feroxLycium chilenseLycopersicon hirsutumNicotiana glaucaSolanum melongenaS. lyratumS. elaeagnifoliumS. puberulum, and S. nigrum.


EPPO Reporting Service. 2008, No. 1, p 2. European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. Available online: http://archives.eppo.org/EPPOReporting/2008/Rse-0801.pdf

EPPO. 2005. Tuta absoluta. Data sheets on quarantine pests. European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. EPPO Bulletin 35, 434-435.

Lietti, M. M. M., E. Botto, and R. A. Alzogaray. Insecticide resistance in Argentine populations of Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). Neotrop. Entomol. vol.34 no.1 Londrina Jan./Feb. 2005 http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1519-566X2005000100016&script=sci_arttext