Some Ecological and Behavioral Aspects of the Tomato Leaf Miner Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)

Hussein Samir Abd El-Rahman Salama1*, Ismail Abdel-Khalek Ismail2, Mohammed Fouda3, Ibrahim Ebadah2, Ibrahim Shehata2
1 – National Research Center, Agricultural and Biological Research Division,
Pests and Plant Protection Dept., EGYPT
2 - National Research Center, Plant Protection Dept., Dokki, Giza, EGYPT
3 - Al. Azhar University, Faculty of Science, Zoology Dept., Nasr city, Cairo, EGYPT
*Corresponding author:
Abstract. Preliminary investigations were carried out to determine the insect behavior of Tuta absoluta towards different factors. Observations showed that the moth is nocturnal in habits. It is most active at dusk and dawn and rest among leaves of the host plant during the day, showing greater morning-crepuscular activity. It prefers to infest leaves of its host plants followed by sepals, leaf neck and stem. Also, the apical part of the tested plants showed to be more attractive to the females‘ oviposition compared to the median and basal parts. The best time for mating started in the morning. The insect can discriminate between different host plants. It showed more preference to tomato followed by black nightshade, eggplant, potato and pepper. The larvae are sensitive to light and it prefers the dark zones. The larvae with its taste receptors are able to discriminate between host plants and other chemicals. For instance, it showed great sensitivity to various sugars in varying degrees. The flight range of the moth was determined and it showed the ability to fly for a distance of 0.4 km overnight.
Keywords: Tuta absoluta, host preference, behavior, mating, light reaction, flight range. 

Ecologia Balkanica, 2015, vol. 7, Issue 2, pp. 35-44
Article № eb.15129, ICID: 1188490, [Full text - PDF]pdf

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