Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

First report of the South American tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), in China.

Abstract

Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) originated in South America and is one of the most serious pests of tomatoes. It is also known to attack other solanaceous crops, including potato, eggplant, pepper, tobacco, and weedy species such as black nightshade. After accidental introduction into Spain in 2006, this pest spread rapidly throughout Afro-Eurasia and has become a major threat to tomato production worldwide. Here, we report the first record of T. absoluta as an invasive pest in China. It was found in tomato fields in Ili Kazakg Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (Ili, Xinjiang), China, and its occurrence was confirmed by both morphological and molecular approaches. In Ili, T. absoluta has been found to attack eggplant, potato, and black nightshade. We found the larvae generally mining and feeding on leaves and boring into tomato fruits, with multiple larvae sometimes observed in a single fruit. Its infestation levels differ among the tomato fields and host species. In all of the surveyed tomato fields, T. absoluta infested 100% of plants. In some of the fields, up to 90% of the eggplant and 100% of the potato plants were infested. Since no natural enemies were found under field conditions, suitable management practices are urgently needed to stop the further spread of this destructive pest in China.