Neotropical Entomology

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 1–17 | Cite as

Current Strategies and Future Outlook for Managing the Neotropical Tomato Pest Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) in the Mediterranean Basin

  • M GiorginiEmail author
  • E Guerrieri
  • P Cascone
  • L Gontijo


The invasion of new regions by exotic pests has been more than ever a critical issue that warrants coordinated international actions to manage established populations and prevent further spreading. Invasive insects can undermine the ecological equilibrium of both natural and agricultural ecosystems. Moreover, increasing temperatures due to climatic change exacerbate this problem by allowing pests to further reach regions previously considered unsuitable. The tomato pinworm Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera) is an exotic pest native to Peru that has spread beyond Neotropical America. In Europe, its occurrence was reported in Spain in 2006, and thereafter, it has spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin and further into Africa and part of Asia. While T. absoluta can cause losses to tomato production all over the globe, the differences in each invaded region (e.g., climate, vegetation) may affect its population dynamics and, consequently, management protocols. Therefore, the main intent of this forum paper is to explore how European growers and researchers are dealing with T. absoluta in the Mediterranean area. As for many other invasive pests, the best approach has been the adoption of integrated pest management (IPM). Specifically, the integration of biological control agents (e.g., mirid predators and egg parasitoids), microbial insecticides (i.e., Bacillus thuringiensis), selective chemical insecticides, and sex pheromone-based control has proven adequate, especially in tomato greenhouses. Nonetheless, some of the challenges ahead include the development of resistant tomato cultivars, the management of wild vegetation and companion plants to optimize the conservation of natural enemies and their effectiveness at the crop level, the management of insecticide resistance, and the improvement of sex pheromone-based tactics.


Augmentation and conservation biological control invasive species IPM mirid predators parasitoids tomato pinworm 


Author Contributions

MG, EG and LG conceived, designed, and wrote the initial manuscript. PC focused on plant breeding section; based on written contributions from all authors, MG, LG, and EG organized the final manuscript. All authors read, revised, and approved the manuscript.

Funding Information

This work was supported by the UE FP7/2007-2013 project ASCII under grant agreement PIRSES-GA-2012-318246. Thanks also to FAPEMIG (Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa no Estado de Minas Gerais) for supporting studies regarding the management of Tuta absoluta.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable Plant ProtectionNational Research Council of Italy (CNR)NaplesItaly
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação Manejo e Conservação de Ecossistemas Naturais e AgráriosUniv Federal de ViçosaFlorestalBrasil

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