Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) invasion in Nigeria: first report of its distribution.
The South America tomato pinworm Tuta absoluta is a serious invasive species in Nigeria. Its impacts on crop production are well understood, but its distribution in the country is unclear. Here, between March 2017 and July 2018, mapping surveys of the distribution of T. absoluta were conducted in 528 different locations across 11 states in Nigeria. Results showed that T. absoluta is present and established in all 360 sites surveyed in the northern and south-western parts of Nigeria. However, it was not recorded at all locations surveyed in two states, Edo and Delta, further south of the country. The implications of these findings are serious as the pest has demonstrated a rapid speed of spread following its arrival in 2015. Furthermore, tomato-dependent livelihoods could be potentially threatened due to the impact of this pest.