Effect of physiological state on female melon fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) attraction to host and food odor in the field.
Foraging behavior of wild female melon fly, Bactrocera (Zeugodacus) cucurbitae Coquillett, a worldwide pest of economically important cucurbit crops, was examined through mark and recapture studies in both wild (Kona: dominated by the invasive weed ivy gourd, Coccinea grandis [L.] Voigt [Cucurbitaceae]), and cultivated (Kapoho: dominated by papaya, Carica papaya L. [Caricaceae] orchards) habitats on Hawaii Island. In particular, the extent to which wild melon flies and color-marked F2 females responded to cucumber odor and Solulys yeast hydrolysate laced with ammonium acetate (1%, wt/vol) according to sexual maturity stage and degree of protein hunger was documented. Kona results indicated that more wild and color-marked F2 females responded to cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. [Cucurbitaceae]) odor than to protein odor with the exception of captured wild flies without eggs, which responded similarly to protein bait and cucumber odor. Results with captured wild females and color-marked F2 females in Kapoho suggested a significant preference for cucumber odor over protein odor regardless of whether or not they had eggs in their ovaries with the exception of protein-deprived color-marked F2 females, which responded to both odors in equal numbers. Implications of these new findings based on wild melon flies in natural habitats are discussed with respect to integrated pest management control strategies with protein bait sprays used in Hawaii. The possibility of adding cucurbit volatiles to protein-based baits is discussed.