First report of Tuta absoluta in Tunisia
In October 2008, leaf mines were observed on field tomato crops (Lycopersicon esculentum) during phytosanitary inspections carried out in the region of Akkouda (Sahel), in Tunisia. Leaf samples were collected from the affected plants and the causal agent was identified by the Tunisian quarantine laboratory as Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae – EPPO A1 List). Further surveys carried out in other tomato-producing regions showed that the pest was also present in the regions of Kairouan (central part of Tunisia) and Bizerte (northeastern part). In order to prevent any further spread of T. absoluta, phytosanitary measures were applied, including in particular the use of pheromone traps and the development of integrated control strategies (combined use of biological control agents and chemical insecticides, information campaigns for the growers, nurserymen and other stakeholders). This is the first record of T. absoluta in Tunisia.
The pest status of Tuta absoluta in Tunisia is officially declared as: Found for the first time in 2008, 3 outbreaks, under official control.
NPPO of Tunisia, 2009-02.