Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
Tomato Leafminer
Tomato leafminer adult
Tomato leafminer adult
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Gelechiidae
Scientific name: Tuta absoluta
Common name: tomato leafminer (TLM)


Adults: The tomato leafminer is a very small silver-grey moth with black spots. They are 5-7 mm long and have a wingspan of 8-10 mm.
Larvae: Newly hatched larvae are cream colored with a black head. Later instars are greenish to light pink.
Pupae: larvae pupate in the soil, on the surface of the leaves, or inside the leaf mines.
Eggs: very small (.35 mm in length), cylindrical, and creamy white to yellow

Damage: TLM mines galleries in the leaves and burrows into the fruit of its host plants.

Impacts: TLM damages leaves and fruit which results in significant crop losses. Losses have been reported as high as 50 to 100%. It is a major foliage pest on potato plants, and it has recently been found feeding on the tubers.

Host plants:
Tomato, potato, eggplant, black nightshade, jimsonweed, tree tobacco, beans, and bell pepper, and other related peppers.

Distribution: The tomato leafminer is a very serious tomato pest from South America. It has been introduced into many Mediterranean countries in southern Europe and northern Africa.

Biology and Life Cycle: TLM have 10 to 12 generations per year in some climates. It is unknown how many generations this moth would have in Oregon if it became established. Tomato leafminer can overwinter as eggs, pupae, or adults depending on the environmental conditions. Females lay 250 to 300 eggs in their lifetime.

What ODA is doing: ODA is placing approximately 100 TLM traps across the state. Placing traps allows ODA to detect any infestations when they are small and when they are more easily eliminated.

International TLM website (Russell IPM)
Photo credit: adult tomato leafminer: Estebam Sani