Insecta, Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae .
Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images
- The caterpillar develops generally in potato tubers (*) , but also occurs in the fruit, stem and even in the leaves of Solanaceae, particularly egg-plant, tomato, tobacco.
- Adult: ifespan about 1 week. It feeds on nectar or dew; it flies little, having a jerky zig-zagging flight. Mating begins 24 hours after it has emerged. The average fecundity is about a hundred eggs.
- Eggs: Laid singly or in small clusters in the cracks and indentations of the eyes of stored potatoes, of leaves or of fruits. Embryonic development lasts 3 to 6 days.
- The caterpillar moves about rapidly and penetrates the tuber at the level of a crack; it makes a small silken sheath and moults. It then forms a gallery which it coats with silk threads and ejects its frass to the outside. When the caterpillar emerges on leaves, it forms a gallery and then penetrates the petioles, the stems or other leaves. After 15 to 20 days, its growth finished, it leaves the plant and pupates in various situations: on potato bags, walls, etc.
- Length of pupal stage: 10 to 30 days depending on climatic conditions.
- About 6 generations per year in Mediterranean regions.
- Hibernation occurs in the egg, caterpillar or adult state, often in potato seed storehouses. Generally, the moths appear from April to October, the generations overlapping each other. All instars may occur together. Larval development is interrupted by temperatures below 10░C.
- In the event of a heavy infestation, 5 to 6 larvae may occur in one potato tuber; however, one caterpillar is enough to spoil and destroy. Also fungi and mites develop inside the galleries, causing the decomposition of the tuber and the release of an unpleasant smell.
- Damage can also be important on the tomato, the moth boring into the stems, leaves and the green fruit (*) .
HYPPZ on line : Species (scientific name), Pests (common names), Glossary, Crops.