Host potential and adaptive responses of Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) to Barbados cherries.
Biological invasions are a global threat to agricultural crops worldwide. In the Neotropical region, the spotted-wing Drosophila [Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura)] has rapidly expanded its geographical range spreading throughout South America in recent years. Besides climatic factors, the remarkable success of its establishment and subsequent distribution in this region is closely dependent on the diversity and availability of host plants. We evaluated the host potential (e.g., as food and oviposition sources) of fruits of jabuticaba [Plinia cauliflora (Mart.) Kausel (Myrtales: Myrtaceae)], Barbados cherry (Malpighia emarginata DC) (Malpighiales: Malpighiaceae), bonnet pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) (Solanales: Solanaceae), and coffee (Coffea arabica L.) (Gentianales: Rubiaceae) and their effects on the biological and physiological traits of D. suzukii. For the fruit types where fly emergence occurred, we assessed the biological and physiological performance of the flies and compared these parameters with those recorded for flies reared on strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duchesne) (Rosales: Rosaceae) and an artificial diet. Our results revealed that oviposition into fruits and completion of the life cycle occurred on Barbados cherries only. Furthermore, field surveys revealed a higher emergence rate of D. suzukii on undamaged ripe Barbados cherries than damaged ones. Moreover, flies developing on Barbados cherries and an artificial diet presented earlier emergence, shorter developmental time, lower number of adults per female, and a female-biased sex ratio compared to flies developing on strawberries. Overall, our findings demonstrated suitability of Barbados cherry as a host for D. suzukii, which renders management of D. suzukii in Neotropical region an even more challenging task.