Species composition and host range of fruit-infesting flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in northern Ghana.
An important aspect of fruit fly management is accurate information on the species and their host spectrum. Studies were conducted between October 2011 and September 2013 to determine the host range and species diversity of pest fruit flies in the northern savannah ecology of Ghana. Fruit samples from 80 potential host plants (wild and cultivated) were collected and incubated for fly emergence; 65 (81.5%) of the plant species were positive to fruit flies. From records in Africa, 11 plant species were reported to be new hosts to the African invader fly, Bactrocera invadens (Drew, Tsuruta and White, 2005). This study documented the first records of Dacus ciliatus (Loew) and Trirhithrum nigerrimum (Bezzi) in northern Ghana although both species have been previously reported in other parts of the country. Infestation by B. invadens was higher in the cultivated fruits; Ceratitis cosyra dominated in most wild fruits. Cucurbitaceae were mainly infested by three species of Dacus and Bactrocera cucurbitae, a specialized cucurbit feeder. Among the commercial fruit species, the highest infestations were observed in mango, tomato, sweet pepper and watermelon, whereas marula plum, soursop, tropical almond, sycamore fig, African peach, shea nut, persimmon, icacina and albarillo dominated the wild host flora. The widespread availability of host plants and the incidence of diverse fly species in the ecology call for particular attention to their impact on commercial fruits and the development of sustainable management strategies against these economically important pests in Ghana.