Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller, 1873)

potato tuber moth

on Solanaceae

Phthorimaea operculella mines

Solanum nigrum, Canary Islands, El Hierro


Oviposition is in the ground; larvae therefore have to search and mount a host plant. Large, glassy, irregular blotches without a recognisable preceding corridor. Frass in a black mass, mainly in the oldest part of the mine. The larvae move several times, and can also bore in the stem and underground parts.

host plants

Solanaceae, oligophagous

Capsicum; Hyoscyamus albus; Lycium europaeum; Lycopersicon esculentum; Nicotiana glauca, tabacum; Solanum dulcamara, melongena, nigrum, tuberosum, villosum.


Larvae in July – September (Bland ao, Britain, 2002a); several generations per year in warmer regions.


BE recorded (Phegea, 2009).

NE recorded (Kuchlein & de Vos, 1999a;, 2009).

LUX not recorded (Fauna Europaea, 2009).

distribution within Europe

All Europe south of the line Ireland – Southern Russia (Fauna Europaea, 2009). Originally a Neotropical species.


Described by Patočka & Turčáni (2005a).


Gelechia operculella.


Everywhere in the tropics and subtropics, including the Mediterranean Region, a serious pest on potato, to a lesser degree also tobacco. The main damage is caused by damaging the potato tubers.


Aguiar & Karsholt (2006a), Bella & Karsholt (2015a), Biesenbaum (2000b), Bland, Corley, Emmet ao (2002a), Elsner, Huemer & Tokár (1999a), Gómez de Aizpúrua (2003a), Hering (1927a, 1936b, 1957a), Huemer & Karsholt (2010a), Huertas Dionisio (2007a), Klimesch (1984a), Kuchlein & Donner (1993a), Kuchlein & de Vos (1999a), Langmaid & Young (2009a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a), De Prins (1998a), De Prins & Steeman (2011a), De Prins, Steeman & Sierens (2016a), Requena (2009a), Rivera & Burrack (2012a), van Roosmalen, Wijker & Knijnsberg (2013a), Stehr (1987a), Swezey (1944a), Szőcs (1977a).

mod 27.i.2020