Background: The tomato leaf miner Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) is an invasive insect pest of tomato and other solanaceous plants which is rapidly expanding its geographic range. It has a highly damaging effect on tomatoes and potential of threatening food production and consequently national food security. Here, we report on the first detection of T. absoluta in Botswana, its consequences on agriculture and food security, and recommend on management strategies. The pest was observed feeding on Solanum lycopersicum L. plants at Genesis farm, Matshelagabedi village in northern Botswana. Following detection, we incubated infected tomato fruits until adult eclosion. External morphology was conducted and confirmed at Botswana International University of Science and Technology (Botswana). Molecular identification and morphological male genitalia were confirmed at Stellenbosch University (South Africa). In addition, we set up some sex-specific pheromone (Tuta optima PH-937-OPTI) at the core detection site and surrounding areas. Results: Morphological genitalia features of pheromone-baited trap catches confirmed the insect pest was indeed T. absoluta. Molecular analysis also confirmed the morphological identification and thus confirming this first report of T. absoluta in Botswana. Conclusion: This first record of T. absoluta in Botswana is worth reporting to promote coordinated efforts amongst stakeholders, research specialists and extension officers in Botswana and across the southern African region in monitoring and managing the pest.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Agronomy and Crop Science