The tomato pinworm,Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) is one of the global major destructive invasive pests was found to be occuring in India in the year 2014. The pest has spread from South America to several parts of Europe, entire Africa and has now spread to India. Plants are damaged by direct feeding on leaves, stems, buds, calyces, young fruit, or ripe fruit and by the invasion of secondary pathogens which enter through the wounds made by the pest. It can cause up to 90% loss of yield and fruit quality under greenhouses and field conditions.
Egg: The eggs are elliptical, and their colour varies from oyster-white to bright yellow, darkening in the embryonic phase and becoming almost black near eclosion.
Larva: The first-instar larvae are whitish soon after eclosion, becoming greenish or light pink in the second to fourth instars according to food (leaflet or ripe fruit, respectively). There are usually four instars.
Pre-pupa: The pre-pupae are lighter than the feeding larvae (first to fourth instars) and develop a distinguishing pink colouration on the dorsal surface. They leave the mines and build silk cocoons on the leaflets or in the soil, according to habitat. When pupation occurs inside mines or fruit the pre-pupae do not build cocoons.
Pupa: Pupae are obtecta with greenish coloration at first, turning chestnut brown and dark brown near adult emergence.
Adult: Adult moths are about 10 mm long, with silverish-grey scales, filiform antenae, alternating light or dark segments and recurved labial palps which are well developed.
Symptoms of damage