High reproductive potential (can reach 12 generations per year), adults are nocturnal while in the daytime they usually hide in the foliage. The female makes its placement on the aerial part of the plant, especially on the obverse of the leaves in isolation, but can also be found in other organs of the plant. A female lays between 40-50 eggs during her life, sometimes reaching up to 260 eggs. The adult has a grayish color with black spots on the front wings, reaches 10 mm in span.
Growth and development
The eggs are cylindrical, cream to yellow in color, measuring 0.4 mm long by 0.2 in diameter and are usually deposited on the underside of the leaves.
After hatching, the larvae pass through four larval stages reaching the end of the last with a length of 7.5 mm and is greenish with pink spots, and then pupate on the ground, on the surface of the leaves or even inside the leaves. galleries, depending on environmental conditions.
The pupa is usually covered with a silky white cocoon and we can locate it anywhere on the plant and on the ground.
The larvae usually have a cream color with a dark head, and the dorsal part of the prothoracic segment only dark in a narrow band, which differentiates it from Phthorimaea operculella (potato moth, also Gelechiidae), which has the whole of said segment. Dark color. They pass greenish and slightly pink, especially in the dorsal area from the second larval stage. The larvae are between 1 and 8 mm in length. The pupa is brown, and the adult, measuring about 10 mm, has filiform antennae and gray wings with black spots on the forewings.
The species needs 29 to 38 days to complete its cycle, according to the temperatures, and presents a high number of annual generations (10-12). Low temperatures are a limiting factor in their survival.
Damage to crops
Immediately after being born the larvae penetrate in the fruits, in the leaves or in the stems of which they are fed, creating perforations and galleries. The fruits can be attacked from their formation, being able to give rise to that they rot later by the action of secondary pathogens, what allows a fast observation of the symptoms.
On the leaves, the larvae feed only on the mesophyll tissue, leaving the epidermis intact. The mines are irregular and subsequently become necrotic. The galleries on the stem affect the development of the attacked plants.