Abundance of Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) and its natural enemies on tomato crops in greenhouses of different production modes (Azores, Portugal) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)





Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae, Tuta absoluta, natural enemies, infestation level, production mode, Azores, Portugal


Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) is a major pest of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) crops produced in the Azorean greenhouses. Despite the major concerns, no systematic study is available to describe population dynamics of T. absoluta and its natural enemies. The objective of this study was to compare the abundance of the pest (eggs and larvae) and its native natural enemies, in greenhouses of tomato crops produced under different production modes (biological, traditional and intensive). A sampling program was carried out during 2020-2021 and two production seasons of spring-summer and fall-winter. The abundance of eggs and larvae of T. absoluta were higher in tomato crops in intensive production and lower in biological production mode. Infestations by eggs and larvae were higher in spring-summer seasons. The natural enemies recorded were Macrolophus pygmaeus (Rambur, 1839) (Hemiptera: Miridae), Dicyphus cerastii Wagner, 1951 (Hemiptera: Miridae) and Trichogramma achaeae Nagaraja & Nagarkatti, 1960 (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). The abundance of natural enemies were very low and, virtually, do not occur during the fall-winter seasons. We found no significant difference between the abundance of M. pygmaeus amongst tomato crops from different production mode but D. cerastii was more abundant on greenhouses of biological production mode. Parasitism rate by T. achaeae does not differ between production modes and crop seasons. Considering the major concerns of the growers by the infestation levels of their crops, together with low abundance of native natural enemies, we suggest the use of biological production mode or an inoculative or augmentative strategy to control the pest in intensive and traditional productions modes.


Download data is not yet available.


Abraços-Duarte, G., Ramos, S., Valente, F., Borges da Silva, E., & Figueiredo, E. (2021). Functional response and predation rate of Dicyphus cerastii Wagner (Hemiptera: Miridae). Insects, 12, 530. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060530 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060530

Arnó, J., Sorribas, R., Prat, M., Matas, M., Pozo, C., Rodríguez, D., Garreta, A., Gómez, A., & Gabarra, R. (2009). Tuta absoluta, a new pest in IPM tomatoes in the northeast of Spain. IOBC/ WPRS Bulletin, 9, 203-208.

Arnó, J., Molina, P., Aparicio, Y., Denis, C., Gabarra, R., & Riudavets, J. (2021). Natural enemies associated with Tuta absoluta and functional biodiversity in vegetable crops. BioControl, 66(5), 613-623. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-021-10097-4 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-021-10097-4

Bacci, L., Silva, E. M., Martins, J. C., Silva, R. S., Chediak, M., Milagres, C. C., & Picanço, M. C. (2021). The seasonal dynamic of Tuta absoluta in Solanum lycopersicon cultivation: Contributions of climate, plant phenology, and insecticide spraying. Pest Management Science, 77, 3187-3197. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.6356 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.6356

Borges, I., Oliveira, L., Durão, A. C., Arruda, P., Figueiredo, E., Franco, J. C., Lucas, E., & Soares, A. O. (2023). Contrasting phenotypic variability of life-history traits of two feral populations of Macrolophus pygmaeus (Hemiptera: Miridae) under two alternative diets. Agronomy, 13, 118. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010118 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010118

Balzan, M., & Moonen, A. C. (2012). Management strategies for the control of Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) damage in open-field cultivations of processing tomato in Tuscany (Italy). EPPO Bulletin, 42, 217-225. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/epp.2558

Bentancourt, C. M., Scatoni, I. B., & Rodriguez, J. J. (1996). Influencia de la temperatura sobre la reproducción y el desarrollo de Scrobipalpuloides absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae). Revista Brasileira de Biologia, 56(4), 661-670.

Bielza, P. (2010). La resistencia a insecticidas en Tuta absoluta. Phytoma, 217, 103-106.

Biondi, A., Narciso, R., Guedes, C., Wan, F. A., & Desneux, D., (2018). Ecology, worldwide spread, and management of the invasive south American tomato pinworm, Tuta absoluta: past, present, and future. Annual Review of Entomology, 63, 239-58. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ento-031616-034933 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-ento-031616-034933

CABI, 2022. Tuta absoluta. https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/49260

Chailleux, A., Desneux, N., Seguret, J., Khanh, H. D. T., Maignet P. & Tabone, E. (2012). Assessing European egg parasitoids as a mean of controlling the invasive South American tomato pinworm Tuta absoluta. PLoS ONE, 7(10), e48068. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048068 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048068

Chailleux, A., Biondi, A., Han, P., Tabone, E., & Desneux, N. (2013). Suitability of the pest-plant system Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)-tomato for Trichogramma (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) parasitoids and insights for biological control. Journal of Economic Entomology, 106(6), 2310-2321. https://doi.org/10.1603/EC13092 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1603/EC13092

Chermiti, B., Abbes, K., Aoun, M., Othmane, S. B., Ouhibi, M., Gamoon, W., & Kacem, S. (2009). First estimate of the damage of Tuta absoluta (Povolny) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) and evaluation of the efficiency of sex pheromone traps in greenhouses of tomato crops in the Bekalta region, Tunisia. The African Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology, 3, 49-52.

Desneux, N., Wajnberg, E., Wyckhuys, K. A. G., Burgio, G., Arpaia, S., Consuelo, A., Narváez-Vasquez, González-Cabrera, J., Ruescas, D. C., Tabone, E., Frandon, J., Pizzol, J., Poncet, C., Cabello, T., & Uubaneja, A. (2010). Biological invasion of European tomato crops by Tuta absoluta: ecology, geographic expansion, and prospects for biological control. Journal of Pest Science, 83, 197-215. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-010-0321-6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-010-0321-6

Desneux, N., Luna, M. G., Guillemaud T., & Urbaneja, A. (2011). The invasive South American tomato pinworm, Tuta absoluta, continues to spread in Afro-Eurasia and beyond: the new threat to tomato world production. Journal of Pest Science, 84, 403-408. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-011-0398-6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-011-0398-6

Dionyssios, Ch. P., & Dionyssios, P. L. (2002). Life table and biological characteristics of Macrolophus pygmaeus when feeding on Myzus persicae and Trialeurodes vaporariorum. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 102(3), 261-272. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1570-7458.2002.00947.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1570-7458.2002.00947.x

DSA (Direção de Serviços de Agricultura) (2014). Relatório de Atividades DSA 2013. http://servicos.srrn.azores.gov.pt/grastore/DRADR/RelatorioAtividades2013.pdf

Figueiredo, E., Rodrigues, S., Payer, R., & Mexia A. (2010). Situación actual de Tuta absoluta en Portugal. Phytoma España, 217, 118-120.

Guedes, R., & Picanço, M. (2012). The tomato borer Tuta absoluta in South America: pest status, management and insecticide resistance. EPPO Bulletin, 42, 211-216. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/epp.2557

Guillemaud, T., Blin, A., Goff, I., Desneux, N., Reyes, M., Tabone, E., Tsagkarakou, A., Niño, L., & Lombaert, E. (2015). The tomato borer, Tuta absoluta, invading the Mediterranean Basin, originates from a single introduction from Central Chile. Scientific Reports, 5, 8371. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep08371 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep08371

Leite, G., Picanço, M., Guedes, R., & Gusmão, M. (1998). Selectivity of insecticides with and without mineral oil to Brachygastra lecheguana (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), a predator of Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). Ceiba, 3, 191-194.

Lietti, M. M. M., Botto, E., & Alzogaray, R. A. (2005). Insecticide resistance in Argentine populations of Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). Neotropical Entomology, 34(1), 113-119. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2005000100016 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2005000100016

Machekano, H., Mutamiswa, R., & Nyamukondiwa, C. (2018). Evidence of rapid spread and establishment of Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in semi-arid Botswana. Agriculture & Food Security, 7, 48. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40066-018-0201-5 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s40066-018-0201-5

Martins, J. C., Picanço, M. C., Silva, R. S., Gonring, A. H., Galdino, T. V., & Guedes, R. N. (2017). Assessing the spatial distribution of Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) eggs in open-field tomato cultivation through geostatistical analysis. Pest Management Science, 74(1), 30-36. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.4664 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.4664

Matos, T., Figueiredo, E., & Mexia, A. (2012). Armadilhas de feromona sexual com luz para captura em massa de Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), sim ou não? Revista de Ciências Agrárias, 35(2), 282-286. https://doi.org/10.19084/rca.16266.

Mohamed, S. A., Azrag, A. G. A., Obala, F., & Ndlela, S. (2022). Estimating the demographic parameters of Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) using temperature-dependent development models and their validation under fluctuating temperature. Biology, 11(2), 181. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11020181 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11020181

Moura, A. P., Carvalho, G. A., & Rigitano, R. L. O. (2005). Toxicity of insecticides used in tomato crop to Trichogramma pretiosum. Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira, 40(3), 203-210. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0100-204X2005000300002 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1590/S0100-204X2005000300002

Oliveira, L., Durão, A., Fontes, F., Roja, I. S., & Tavares J. (2017). Potential of Trichogramma achaeae (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae) in Biological Control of Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Azorean Greenhouse Tomato Crops. Journal of Economic Entomology, 110, 2010-2015. https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/tox197 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jee/tox197

Payer, R., Mexia, A., Pratissoli, D., & Figueiredo, E. (2012). Parasitim of south American tomato moth eggs by Trichogramma evanescens (Hymenoptera: Trichogrammatidae). Revista de Ciências Agrarias, 35(2), 236-243. https://doi.org/10.19084/rca.16209

Payer, R., Figueiredo, E., & Mexia, A. (2015). Evaluation of parasitism and predation of Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) by Diglyphus isaea (Walker, 1838) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae). SHILAP Revista de lepidopterología, 43(170), 173-179.

Perdikis, D. CH., Lykouressis, D. P., & Economou, L. P. (1999). The influence of temperature, photoperiod, and plant type on the predation rate of Macrolophus pygmaeus on Myzus persicae. Biocontrol, 44, 281-289. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009959325331 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009959325331

Polaszek, A., Rugman-Jones, P. F., Stouthamer, R., Hernandez–Suarez, E., Cabello, T., & Del Pino, M. (2012). Molecular and morphological diagnoses of Canary Islands Trichogramma species for biocontrol of Chrysodeixis chalcites (Lep. Noctuidae) and Tuta absoluta (Lep. Gelechiidae). BioControl, 57, 21-35. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-011-9361-y DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10526-011-9361-y

Silva, G. A., Picanço M. C., Bacci, L., Crespo, A. L. B., Rosado, J. F., & Guedes, R. N. C. (2011). Control failure likelihood and spatial dependence of insecticide resistance in the tomato pinworm, Tuta absoluta. Pest Management Science, 67(8), 913-920. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.2131 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.2131

Silva, D. B., Bueno, V. H. P., Lins, J. C., & Van Lenteren, J. C. (2015). Life history data and population growth of Tuta absoluta at constant and alternating temperatures on two tomato lines. Bulletin of Insectology, 68(2): 223-232.

Siqueira, H. A., Guedes, R. N., & Picanço, M. C. (2000a). Cartap resistance and synergism in populations of Tuta absoluta (Lep., Gelechiidae). Journal of Applied Entomology, 124(5-6), 233-238. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0418.2000.00470.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0418.2000.00470.x

Siqueira, H. A., Guedes, R. N., & Picanço, M. C. (2000b). Insecticide resistance in populations of Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 2(2), 147-153. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1461-9563.2000.00062.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1461-9563.2000.00062.x

Urbaneja, A, Montón, H., & Mollá, O. (2009). Suitability of the tomato borer Tuta absoluta as prey for Macrolophus pygmaeus and Nesidiocoris tenuis. Journal of Applied Entomology, 133(4), 292-296. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0418.2008.01319.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0418.2008.01319.x

Urbaneja, A., González, J., Arno, J., & Gabarra, R. (2012). Prospects for the biological control of Tuta absoluta in tomatoes of the Mediterranean basin. Pest Management Science, 68(9), 1215-1222. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.3344 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.3344

Urbaneja, A, Desneux, N., Gabarra, R., Arnó, J., González-Cabrera, J, Mafra-Neto, A., Stoltman, L., De Sene Pinto, A., & Parra, J. R. P. (2013). Biology, ecology, and management of the south American tomato pinworm, Tuta absoluta (pp. 98-125). In J. Peña. Potential Invasive Pests of Agricultural Crops. CAB International. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1079/9781845938291.0098

Vieira, V. (2016). A traça-do-tomateiro Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) nas ilhas dos Açores (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). SHILAP Revista de lepidopterologia, 44(176), 607-613.



How to Cite

Oliveira, L., Borges, I., Silva, D., Durão, A. C., & Soares, A. O. (2023). Abundance of Tuta absoluta (Meyrick, 1917) and its natural enemies on tomato crops in greenhouses of different production modes (Azores, Portugal) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). SHILAP Revista De lepidopterología, 51(201), 59–70. https://doi.org/10.57065/shilap.437