First record of Tuta absoluta in Morocco
In April 2008, damage was observed on outdoor tomato crops (Lycopersicon esculentum) in Bouareg in the region of Nador, North-Eastern Morocco. Affected tomato plants showed leaf mines and small holes on tomato fruits. Samples were taken to the laboratory and the pest was identified as Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae – EPPO A1 List). Surveys were carried out in other tomato-growing regions but no signs of infestation have been detected, so far. In order to prevent any further spread of T. absoluta, phytosanitary measures were implemented and included the following: total destruction of infested tomato crops and plant debris, installation of pheromone traps, development of integrated pest management strategies (combined use of biological control agents and pesticides), surveys in tomato- and vegetable-growing regions (as the pest can also attack aubergine, potato and beans), and information campaigns to stakeholders (growers, nurserymen, extension services, etc.). This is the first report of T. absoluta in Morocco.
The pest status of Tuta absoluta in Morocco is officially declared as: One outbreak, under eradication.
NPPO of Morocco, 2008-09.