Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Seasonal decline of the tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta, in the shifting landscape of a vegetable-growing area.

Abstract

Insect pest populations exhibit seasonal dynamics in response to changes in resource availability or other environmental factors such as climatic conditions, natural enemies, and intra- or interspecific competition. Understanding such dynamics is critical for developing effective integrated pest management strategies. The objective of the present study was to identify factors driving the seasonal decline of the tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), in the shifting landscape of a vegetable-growing area in Senegal. A set of 42 tomato fields was monitored for the number of T. absoluta adults caught in pheromone traps and for the incidence of larvae, during 5 months from June to November 2016 in the Niayes area (Senegal). The surface of solanaceous host crops, climatic conditions, and abundance of natural enemies were also monitored. A drastic decline in T. absoluta abundance was observed during the rainy season. The decrease in resource availability, especially tomato crops, in the surrounding landscape of monitored fields was the main factor affecting the population dynamics during the rainy season. However, alternative host crops such as eggplant and Ethiopian eggplant, can provide 'reservoirs' for residual populations of the pest. For applied purpose, it would be interesting to focus the management efforts on residual populations during the rainy season, to make more difficult the reconstitution of populations during the dry season.