Potato tuber moth mainly affects potatoes, but also damages tobacco, beets, tomatoes and eggplant.
Scientific name: Phthorimaea operculella
Other name: Tobacco splitworm
Greek name: Φθοριμαία
Potato tuber moth causes damage to leaves and stems, but is not considered significant. Serious damage is done to tubers, which are attacked by the insect both in the field before harvest and in storage. Larvae pierce irregular tunnels in the tubers at a shallow depth under the epidermis. The larvae’s filaments and excrement are visible in the tunnels. The affected areas on the tuber rot.
The adult (butterfly) has a wingspan of 10-13 mm. The forewings are greyish yellow with dark spots.
The larva (caterpillar) is 12 mm long and is pale pinkish in color.
Favorable conditions for infestation by potato tuber moth are when warm and dry weather prevails. In the field, potato tuber moth attacks tubers by entering through soil cracks when fields are desiccated. In the Mediterranean basin countries Potato tuber moth develops high populations and is a serious pest of potatoes.