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Tecia solanivora(Povolny) 1973

Tecia solanivora is a serious pest of potato throughout much of Central and South America. It may be spread through infested tubers, either planted or kept in storage.

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Name: Tecia solanivora (Povolny) 1973
Taxonomic Position:
Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae
Common Names: Central American potato tuberworm, Guatemala tuber moth; originally described as Scrobipalpopsis solanivora

Damage from PTM is virtually undetectable externally until the fourth instar larvae chew exit holes in the tubers; larval tunneling leads to secondary rot of tubers.

Issues of Concern: One infested tuber in storage can lead to loss of 50% of tubers in storage, one replanted ware potato can lead to field infestation, may cause 20% loss in field; infested potatoes are generally unfit for either human or animal consumption. Currently, the only known natural enemies are a baculovirus and a parasitic wasp.

Pathways: potato plants, seed stock, ware (tablestock) potatoes, potato sacks, soil

Hosts: Solanum tuberosum

Vector(s)/Dispersal: Not known to carry disease, but larval tunneling leads to secondary tuber rot; larval frass (excrement) and exuviae make tubers unfit for either human or animal consumption.

Discovered in Guatemala (1956), reported in Costa Rica (1971), Panama (1973), Venezuela (1983), Colombia (1985), Ecuador (1997); Tenerife, Canary Islands (1999); currently also reported from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Quarantines: The United States does not allow importation of potato tubers or live plants from Central or South American countries. Peru, which does not yet have potato tuber moth, conducts extensive surveys and has a ban on importation of tubers from other CA and SA countries.

Detection Strategies
Cutting open tubers and inspecting for tunneling damage, larval excrement, and/or exuviae; inspecting tubers for larval exit holes; inspecting potato sacks for pupae and adults; discarding soil from potato sacks suspected of harboring larvae or moths.

Control: Currently, there is an IPM program consisting of sex pheromones and sticky traps (ISCA Tech, Pherobank), B. t.-transformed potato varieties, dusting tubers with baculovirus (Baculovirus phthorimaea), and cultural management by deep planting (5 - 10 cm) and high hilling of field potatoes combined with irrigation so that tubers are never exposed to ovipositing moths. In addition, defoliation when crop senesces, opportune harvesting, not leaving harvested tubers in the field overnight, and cleanliness in storage will help prevent moth oviposition.

Source: CABI Crop Pest Compendium; EPPO reporting service 2001/037

CAB International, 2000. Tecia solanivora. In: Crop Protection Compendium. Wellingford, UK: CAB International.
de Gualdron, L. N. and A. Notz. (2000) Desarrollo y sintomatologia de larvas de la polilla de la papa Tecia solanivora (Povolny) 1973 (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) infectadas por un virus granulosis nativo. Bol. Entomol. Venez. 15(1): 29-38.
Notz, A. (1996) Influence of temperature on the biology of Tecia solanivora (Povolny) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) on potato Solanum tuberosum L. tubers. Bol. Entomol. Venez. 11(1): 49-54.
Povolny, D. (1973) Scrobipalpopsis solanivora sp. n. -- a new pest of potato (Solanum tuberosum) from Central America. Acta Universitatis Agriculturae, Facultas Agronomica 21(1): 133-146.
Torres, W. F., A. Notz, and L. Valencia (1997) Life cycle and other aspects of the biology of Tecia solanivora (Povolny) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Tachira state, Venezuela. Bol. Entomol. Venez. 12(1): 95-106.

Useful Links:
Additional images
IPM for potatoes
Lifecycle of potato tuber moth
Pest Alert images plus control
Additional potato IPM
EPPO Alert

Warning: The information in this archived item was not confirmed with the appropriate National Plant Protection Organization and is provided solely for informational purposes. Please use this information with caution.

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