Inventory of Tuta absoluta predators on solanaceous crops in Côte d'Ivoire.
In order to know the local predators of Tuta absoluta Meyrick (1917) in Côte d'Ivoire and their host plants, a survey was carried out in 15 vegetable growing areas in 15 cities across the country. The study took place from November 2019 to February 2020. It concerned mainly tomato crops and African eggplant crops but also some companion plants such as tobacco. Observations were made on 30 plants per plant species. Farmers were questioned about the phytosanitary practices they use to protect their crops against pests. In total, 208 predators were captured. The predators collected were Heteroptera from the Miridae family: Nesidiocoris tenuis Reuter (1895) (51.92%); Nesidiocoris volucer Kirkaldy (1902) (30.28%) and Macrolophus pygmaeus Rambur (1839) (17.78%). These predators were collected on tobacco (45.19%), tomato (32.21%) and African eggplant (22.60%), except for the species N. volucer which was collected only on tobacco. The survey revealed that for pest management, 69% of the producers used conventional products and 31% used biological control method based on plant extracts. Insect predators were mainly collected on non-treated plants such as tobacco or on crops with a biological protection (78.85%). The plant extracts used by farmers, preserved insect predators much better than conventional treatments. Actually, these generalist predators complement the effect of plant extracts as they can feed on a large number of pests from different species such as T. absoluta or Bemisia tabaci and at different stages (eggs, larvae). Host plants such as tobacco could be used by farmers to attract and maintain these insect predators in vegetable areas, or even to introduce them into crops under cover such as greenhouse or net house.