Geographical distribution and host range status of Tuta absoluta Meyrick (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Côte d'Ivoire.
The South American tomato pinworm, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), is one of the major threats to tomato production. Larvae can cause losses of more than 80% of production. It was officially detected for the first time in West Africa in 2012, in Senegal, and was subsequently reported in most countries in this part of the continent. To identify infested vegetable production areas and determine reservoir plants in Côte d'Ivoire, surveys were carried out and pheromone traps set in the North, South, East, West and Center in the main tomato production areas of the country. The pest was detected in all surveyed areas, with the highest number of males (623 ± 19.5 insects/week) caught by pheromone traps in Bouaké in the Center of Côte d'Ivoire and a highest percentage of infested leaves, 96 ± 2.5%, was obtained in the locality of Agnibilékro in the East of the country. Tuta absoluta attacked all phenological stages of tomato plant in field. Larval mines were observed on the eggplant, Solanum melongena, the black nightshade, Solanum nigrum and the peppers, Capsicum annuum. Apart from tomato, T. absoluta seems to prefer S. melongena (41.64 ± 2.95% of infested leaves/plant; 4.88 ± 0.4 mine/plant) and S. nigrum (36.27 ± 3.42% of infested leaves/plant; 4.26 ± 0.6 mine/plant) more than C. annuum (13.48 ± 2.42% of infested leaves/plant and 1.38 ± 0.18 mine/plant). This study led to understanding that T. absoluta is well established in the main tomato production areas of Côte d'Ivoire, causing damage regardless of plant development stages and is present on other plant species.