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