Adult are about 10 mm long have filiform antennae and silverish-grey scales, black spots on anterior wings.
Tuta absoluta is a holometabolous insect with a high rate of reproduction. It may be able to complete 10-12 generations per year depending on environmental conditions. Tuta absoluta completes a generation in 28 days. Adult males live longer than females. Both genders mate multiple times. The first mating usually occurs the day after adults emerge. Each female can lay up to 260 eggs in a lifetime. Freshly hatched larvae are light yellow or green and only 0.5 mm in length. As they mature, larvae develop a darker green color and a characteristic dark band posterior to the head capsule. Four larval instars develop. Larvae do not enter diapause when food is available. Pupation may take place in the soil, on the leaf surface,within mines or in packaging material. A cocoon is built if pupation does not take place in the soil.
: Larvae of Tuta absoluta mine the leaves, flowers, shoots, and fruit of tomato as well as the leaves and tubers of potato. After hatching, larvae penetrate apical buds, flowers, new fruit, leaves, or stems. Conspicuous irregular mines and galleries as well as dark frass make infestations relatively easy to spot. The damage caused by this pest is severe, especially in young plants. In tomato, it can attack any plant part at any crop stage and can cause up to 100% crop destruction.
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