[en] The South American tomato pinworm, Tuta absoluta Meyrick (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), is an economically important insect pest of tomatoes. Since its discovery in Burkina Faso in 2016, the use of synthetic insecticides was favored, with many cases of treatment failure.
In order to explore alternative control methods, we conducted a screening of the twelve main tomato varieties produced in the country to test two hypotheses: (1) Some tomato varieties are less likely to attract gravid females and be used as oviposition site; (2) Some varieties are unsuitable host plants as they allow slower development and lead to higher mortality. The varieties tested include RomaVF, KanonF1, Cobra 26 F1, FBT1, FBT2, FBT3, RaissaF1, JampacktF1, Mongal, Rio Grande, Tropimech and Petomech.
Tuta absoluta fitness was largely impacted by the tomato variety, especially egg incubation time and larval and pupal stage durations. As a result, the total T. absoluta lifecycle was slower on Cobra 26 F1 and Kanon F1 (24.6 ± 1.8 and 25.8 ± 3.3 days, respectively) and faster on FBT1 and Rio grande (22.6 ± 3.0 and 22.8 ± 2.6 days, respectively). None of the variety impacted adult lifespan. All varieties were accepted as hosts by gravid females during multiple choice oviposition assays. The number of eggs laid per females was statistically similar among the varieties.
We conclude that two varieties, Kanon F1 and Cobra 26 F1, have better abilities to slow T. absoluta development, limiting the number of generations while increasing the probability that natural enemies find and kill their prey.