Field monitoring of Drosophila suzukii and associated communities in south eastern France as a pre-requisite for classical biological control.
The spotted wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Ds), became a major economic pest for fruit production since its establishment in Europe and America. Among potential control methods, only classical biological control appears to be a mean of sustainably regulating Ds in both cultivated and natural habitats. In the frame of risk assessment, pre-release surveys were carried out in a restricted but highly heterogeneous area in the south-east of France using traps and deliberate field exposures of Ds and D. melanogaster larvae/pupae. Although Ds abundance varied according to sampling methods, it was found to be pervasive and to produce offspring and adults in most conditions (spatial and seasonal). Its main limits are some specific abiotic conditions (i.e., desiccation) as well as interspecific competition. Indeed, Ds mostly co-occurred with D. busckii and D. hydei, probably due to common phenology and/or ecological requirements. These two species thus deserve more attention for risk assessment. The main indigenous parasitoids collected belonged to two pupal species, Trichopria cf drosophilae and Pachycrepoideus vindemmiae, but their presence was observed late in the autumn and mainly in cultivated areas. Results are discussed in a comparison of the methodological approaches for monitoring Drosophilids and the benefits-risks assessment of classical biological control.