A tiny moth no bigger than an eyelash has become a serious threat to the world’s tomato crop since it left its place of origin – South America – in 2006. Experts believe that it traveled to Spain in an unsuspecting horticultural collector’s luggage. From there it has spread throughout Europe, jumped the Mediterranean to North Africa, moved on to western and eastern Africa, and is on the march to Asia. Because it faces no natural enemies in the new environments, it spreads quickly.
This table shows the spread of the highly destructive moth.
Spread of Tuta absoluta, the South American tomato leafminer