EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 07 - 2008 Num. article: 2008/135

First record of Tuta absoluta in Algeria

The NPPO of Algeria recently informed the EPPO Secretariat of the first record of Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Geliichidae – EPPO A1 List) on its territory. It can be recalled that T. absoluta which originates from South America has recently been introduced into Spain (see EPPO RS 2008/001). In Algeria, T. absoluta was found on protected tomato crops in coastal areas (west, centre and part of the eastern coast). All inspections which had previously been carried out in these areas had not detected the pest, so it can be assumed that T. absoluta is of recent introduction into Algeria. The identity of the pest was confirmed by the NPPO laboratory of entomology on the basis of morphology (male genitalia). Phytosanitary measures have immediately been taken to prevent any further spread of T. absoluta. Infected plots have been placed under quarantine. It is prohibited to introduce tomato planting material from infested areas and to use planting material of unknown health status. Heavily affected tomato plants and leaves are destroyed by burning. Growers are allowed to use chemical control against T. absoluta. In addition, research will be undertaken to develop chemical and biological control methods.

Simultaneously, a paper has been published to report the first outbreak of T. absoluta in Algeria (Guenaoui, 2008) and provides further details. At the end of the winter, tomato growers in the region of Mostaganem (western coastal area) noticed the presence of unusual galleries on the leaves of tomatoes grown under glasshouses. At first, these were confused with damage caused by leafminers but closer observation revealed the presence of a microlepidoptera. Late instar larvae were collected and raised to the adult stage to allow the pest identification in spring 2008. The first outbreaks were observed in tomato glasshouses in the commune of Mazagran (near Mostaganem) and rapidly expanded to nearby communes. Foliar damage was reported in March and fruit damage appeared in May. Other outbreaks have also been reported in the commune of Hassi Bounif (near Oran). At present, damage has only been recorded on glasshouse tomatoes but it is feared that the pest will spread to outdoor tomato crops and eventually to other vegetable crops such as aubergine (Solanum melongena) and capsicum (Capsicum annuum).

The situation of Tuta absoluta in Algeria can be described as follows: Present, first found in 2008 on glasshouse tomatoes in coastal areas, under official control.

Note: Pictures of T. absoluta have been kindly provided by Prof. Yamina Guenaoui (University of Mostaganem, DZ) and Jean-François Germain (LNPV, Montpellier, FR) and can be viewed on the EPPO gallery of pictures, at the following address: http://photos.eppo.org/index.php/album/219-tuta-absoluta-gnorab-


NPPO of Algeria, 2008-07.
Guenaoui Y (2008) Nouveau ravageur de la tomate en Algérie. Première observation de Tuta absoluta, mineuse de la tomate invasive, dans la région de Mostaganem, au printemps 2008. Phytoma-La Défense des Végétaux no. 617, 18-19.