Comparison of populations of Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae) from three continents for susceptibility to cold phytosanitary treatment and implications for generic cold treatments.
The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae), is arguably the most significant and studied quarantine pest of fresh fruits. There is well over a century of research observations on its response to cold, first as it pertains to shipment of fruits using cold temperatures to preserve fruit quality and how that may aid the survival and distribution of the pest, and then the use of colder temperatures to kill the pest in fruit shipments. Cold tolerance at 1.1°C in three populations of C. capitata generally increased as the insect developed; therefore, the third instar is the most tolerant of the stages that are found in fruit. The three populations did not differ in cold tolerance, indicating that cold phytosanitary treatments against this pest can be harmonized regardless of country of origin of marketed fruit hosts. This study facilitated the approval of some cold treatment schedules for the International Plant Protection Convention treatment manual that were being held up by concerns of possible differences in cold tolerance among C. capitata populations from different countries and points toward the possibility of generic, broadly applicable phytosanitary cold treatments. Most larvae found alive after 9 d of cold treatment did not pupariate and fewer still emerged as adults, indicating that acute larval mortality need not always be the objective of a cold phytosanitary treatment to be efficacious in preventing the establishment of invasive species.