Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Dacus ciliatus
(lesser pumpkin fly)

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Datasheet

Dacus ciliatus (lesser pumpkin fly)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 22 March 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Dacus ciliatus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • lesser pumpkin fly
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • D. ciliatus is a major pest of a wide range of Cucurbitaceae in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Adult flight and fruit transport are major means of dispersal. It may cause indirect economic impact on exports
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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Museum set specimen of adult D. ciliatus
TitleMounted specimen
CaptionMuseum set specimen of adult D. ciliatus
Copyright©CABI BioScience
Museum set specimen of adult D. ciliatus
Mounted specimenMuseum set specimen of adult D. ciliatus©CABI BioScience

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Dacus ciliatus Loew

Preferred Common Name

  • lesser pumpkin fly

Other Scientific Names

  • Dacus appoxanthus var. decolor Bezzi
  • Dacus brevistylus Bezzi
  • Dacus cocciniae Premlata & Singh
  • Dacus insistens Curran
  • Dacus sigmoides Coquillett
  • Didacus ciliatus (Loew)
  • Leptoxyda ciliata (Loew)
  • Tridacus mallyi Munro [nomen nudum]

International Common Names

  • English: cucurbit fly; Ethiopian fruit fly; lesser melon fly

EPPO code

  • DACUCI (Dacus ciliatus)

Summary of Invasiveness

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D. ciliatus is a major pest of a wide range of Cucurbitaceae in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Adult flight and fruit transport are major means of dispersal. It may cause indirect economic impact on exports and could become a serious pest if introduced in the USA. It is an EPPO A1 quarantine pest within the category 'non-European Trypetidae' and is also of quarantine significance to CPPC (Caribbean Plant Protection Commission).
 
Demographics, the main component of competition for fly species, have only been studied for this species by Vayssières et al. (2008). Compared to Bactrocera cucurbitae, it has longer egg incubation and immature stages, both disadvantages when competing for the same habitat. Preference for certain hosts allows D. ciliatus to enhance its biotic potential and maintain low population levels when competing with the melon fly, especially at low altitudes. D. ciliatus could colonize low temperature areas, as has been the case in Mediterranean areas. D. ciliatus seems less wiling to exploit new hosts compared to B. cucurbitae.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Diptera
  •                         Family: Tephritidae
  •                             Genus: Dacus
  •                                 Species: Dacus ciliatus

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page D. ciliatus belongs to subgenus Didacus and its name may therefore be cited as Dacus (Didacus) ciliatus Loew.

Description

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Adult

The genus Bactrocera belongs to the family Tephritidae, which is part of the superfamily Tephritoidea. In common with most species of Tephritoidea, this species has patterned wings, and the female has a long telescopic and pointed ovipositor; these features are hardly known outside the Tephritoidea. The family Tephritidae may also be separated from all other Diptera by the shape of the subcostal vein, which bends abruptly through a right-angle and fades to a fold before reaching the wing edge, combined with the presence of setulae along the dorsal side of vein R1. At the wing base, species of Bactrocera and Dacus have a very deep cell bm and a very long pointed extension of cell bcu (= cup). The genus Dacus, is separated from Bactrocera, by the terga (dorsal sclerites of the abdomen) being fused into a single sclerotized plate.

D. ciliatus is a member of subgenus Didacus, which is separated from other African subgenera as follows: anterior supra-alar setae absent; male with a pecten (comb of setae along each postero-lateral edge of abdominal tergum 3). It can be separated from other pest species within the subgenus by its lack of yellow vittae (stripes) on the scutum, and by the yellow spot in each haltere base being small and separated from the scutellum by at least its own diameter. Non-reared specimens from Africa should be identified using the keys provided by Munro (1984), but it should be noted that those keys are very difficult to use. Non-reared specimens from Asia should be identified using Drew et al. (1998).

Larva

White and Elson-Harris (1994) gave some details, but they were insufficient to permit separation from other pest species of subgenus Didacus.

Distribution

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D. ciliatus is a major pest of cucurbits throughout Africa, except in the Maghreb, being distributed from Egypt to South Africa (Hancock, 1989). The fly is also a pest in the Indian Ocean (Reunion and Mauritius) and Oriental Asia (Pakistan and India). It has also been reported in the Middle East (Iran, Saudi-Arabia, Yemen, amongst others). D. ciliatus has spread to Israel (Norrbom et al., 1999) and to Oman (Azam et al., 2004). It is found in a small area of the Arava desert and is still a quarantine insect in Israel (Maklakov et al., 2001). As the common name, Ethiopian fruit fly, suggests, D. ciliatus is native to East Africa (Vayssières et al., 2008).

Due to confusion with other species, some country records have been based on misidentifications. Records of D. ciliatus from Cape Verde have been found to be based on a misidentification of Dacus frontalis (White and Elson-Harris, 1994). Similarly, Sri Lankan specimens examined by Drew et al. (1998) were Dacus keiseri. A record for Botswana, cited in the 1995 edition of the Distribution Maps of Plant Pests (UK International Institute of Entomology, 1995), was based on an NHM specimen that has not been traced, and the record for Madagascar is likely to be based on a misidentification. The following records, also cited in this map, are not confirmed by voucher specimens available to either NHM staff or to Munro (1984) and are listed as requiring further confirmation: Bangladesh; Myanmar; Benin; Chad; and Sierra Leone. Refer to CABI/EPPO (2002) for further information.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

BangladeshAbsent, reported but not confirmedCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
IndiaWidespreadCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
-DelhiPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
-GujaratPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
-Himachal PradeshPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
-Indian PunjabPresentMunro, 1984; Norrbom et al., 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
-KarnatakaPresentChakravarthy et al., 2007
-MaharashtraPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
-Tamil NaduPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
-Uttar PradeshPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
IranPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
IsraelRestricted distributionNorrbom et al., 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2011; EPPO, 2014
JordanPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
MyanmarAbsent, unreliable recordNorrbom et al., 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
NepalPresentEPPO, 2014
OmanPresentWhite and Elson-Harris, 1994; Azam et al., 2004; EPPO, 2014
PakistanPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
Saudi ArabiaPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
Sri LankaPresentWhite and Elson-Harris, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
ThailandAbsent, unreliable recordEPPO, 2014
TurkeyPresentÇalişkan Keçe et al., 2019
United Arab EmiratesPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
YemenWidespreadMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014

Africa

AngolaPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
BeninAbsent, unreliable recordWhite and Elson-Harris, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
BotswanaAbsent, unreliable recordWhite and Elson-Harris, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
CameroonPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
Cape VerdeAbsent, invalid recordCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
ChadAbsent, unreliable recordWhite and Elson-Harris, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentWhite and Elson-Harris, 1994; Norrbom et al., 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
EgyptPresentEl Nahal et al., 1971; Munro, 1984; Norrbom et al., 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
EritreaPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
EthiopiaPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014Originally from East Africa
GhanaPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
GuineaPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
KenyaWidespreadMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
LesothoPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
MadagascarAbsent, unreliable recordWhite and Elson-Harris, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
MalawiPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
MauritiusPresentMunro, 1984; Norrbom et al., 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2002; Vayssières et al., 2008; EPPO, 2014
MayottePresentEPPO, 2014
MozambiquePresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
NamibiaWidespreadMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
NigerPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
NigeriaPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; Umeh et al., 2008; EPPO, 2014
RéunionPresentMunro, 1984; Dehecq, 1995; CABI/EPPO, 2002; Vayssières et al., 2008; EPPO, 2014Recorded in Reunion after Mauritius
RwandaPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
Saint HelenaPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
SenegalPresentMunro, 1984; Norrbom et al., 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
Sierra LeoneAbsent, unreliable recordWhite and Elson-Harris, 1994; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
SomaliaPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
South AfricaWidespreadMunro, 1984; Hancock, 1989; Norrbom et al., 1999; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
SudanPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
TanzaniaPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
TogoPresentCABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
UgandaPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
ZambiaPresentMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014
ZimbabweWidespreadMunro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014

Oceania

New ZealandAbsent, confirmed by surveyEPPO, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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Adult flight and the transport of infested fruit are the major means of movement and dispersal to previously uninfected areas.

Risk of Introduction

Top of page D. ciliatus poses a phytosanitary risk to other countries with a suitable tropical climate and suitable cucurbit crops.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial
 
Terrestrial – ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Secondary/tolerated habitat Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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D. ciliatus is an oliphagous fly found in a wide range of Cucurbitaceae. Concerning the host range, D. ciliatus seems to be less wiling to exploit new hosts in comparison with Bactrocera cucurbitae (Vayssières et al., 2002).

In South-East Asia, six plant species in five plant genera of the Cucurbitaceae are classified as hosts of D. ciliatus (Drew, 2004). For a list of Asian hosts see Tsuruta et al. (1997) and Drew et al. (1998). Studies in India indicate that D. ciliatus is a field pest of round gourds (tinda) and squash melons (Citrullus lanatus var. fistulossus) and that it may also compete with B. cucurbitae (Kapoor, 2002).
 
There are a few reports from hosts other than Cucurbitaceae namely Adenia gummifera (Passifloraceae), Gossypium sp. (Malvaceae), Solanum lycopersicum (Solanaceae) and Phaseolus sp. (Fabaceae), but these are not common hosts and may represent aberrant associations or a confused host range (White, 2006). In Nigeria, Matanmi (1975) found no attack on tomatoes in an area where cucurbits were heavily attacked. In Mauritius, Orian and Moutia (1960) found that attacks on tomato were very rare. For a review of other non-cucurbit records, all of which are open to question, see White and Elson-Harris (1994).  

Some cucurbits may not be natural hosts, for example, Matanmi (1975) noted that cucumber (Cucumis sativus) was only attacked when over-ripe. Ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis) has been used as a laboratory host in India (Patel and Patel, 1998), but it is not clear if this is also a field host, although there is a report of D. ciliatus larvae developing in a gall of another insect on this plant (Bhatia and Mahto, 1968).

In some areas, wild hosts are important, for example in Egypt, colocynth (Citrullus colocynthis) appears to be a reservoir host (Shaheen et al., 1973). This may be of particular importance in arid areas where isolated, irrigated crops would otherwise be expected to be free from this pest.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Citrullus colocynthis (colocynth)CucurbitaceaeWild host
Citrullus lanatus (watermelon)CucurbitaceaeMain
Citrus sinensis (navel orange)RutaceaeOther
Coccinia trilobataCucurbitaceaeMain
Corallocarpus ellipticusCucurbitaceaeMain
Cucumis aculeatusCucurbitaceaeMain
Cucumis africanusCucurbitaceaeMain
Cucumis dipsaceus (hedgehog gourd)Main
Cucumis melo (melon)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cucumis metuliferusCucurbitaceaeMain
Cucumis myriocarpusCucurbitaceaeMain
Cucumis sativus (cucumber)CucurbitaceaeOther
Cucurbita maxima (giant pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cucurbita pepo (marrow)CucurbitaceaeMain
Kedrostis foetidissimaCucurbitaceaeMain
Kedrostis lelojaCucurbitaceaeMain
Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd)CucurbitaceaeMain
Luffa acutangula (angled luffa)CucurbitaceaeOther
Luffa aegyptiaca (loofah)CucurbitaceaeOther
Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeOther
Momordica balsamina (common balsamapple)CucurbitaceaeMain
Momordica charantia (bitter gourd)CucurbitaceaeMain
Momordica rostrataCucurbitaceaeMain
Peponium mackeniiCucurbitaceaeMain
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeOther
Solanum melongena (aubergine)SolanaceaeOther
Trichosanthes cucumerina (snake gourd)CucurbitaceaeMain

Growth Stages

Top of page Fruiting stage

Symptoms

Top of page Attacked fruit usually shows signs of oviposition punctures around which necrosis may occur. In heavy infestations the fruit may collapse leaving just the skin (El Nahal et al., 1971).

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / discoloration
Fruit / extensive mould
Fruit / gummosis
Fruit / internal feeding
Fruit / lesions: black or brown
Fruit / lesions: scab or pitting
Fruit / obvious exit hole
Fruit / odour
Fruit / ooze

Biology and Ecology

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Not many studies have been conducted on the biology of D. ciliatus. The fly undergoes a complete metamorphosis, with an egg stage, three larval stages, pupae and adult.

D. ciliatus adults reach their sexual maturity at 14-15 days although there are data from Egypt stating that the adults reach their reproductive maturity after 5-6 days during the summer and after 20-30 days during the winter (El Nahal et al., 1971). As in most of the fruit flies belonging to the Dacinae, mating in D. ciliatus occurs at dusk under low light intensities (Fletcher, 1987; Smith, 1989). At light intensities lower than 50 lux, mating pairs start to copulate (Dehecq, 1995). They usually stay coupled during the entire night and are separated by the morning light (Dehecq, 1995). Although not yet confirmed, it seems that females mate only once in their life span (El Nahal et al., 1971).

Generally, mature females of the genus Bactrocera oviposit into fruit. Although in most species of Bactrocera this is usually at the start of ripening, some cucurbit-associated species may attack at fruit set or even attack the ovaries. Vayssières and Dal (2002) observed that orange spheres mostly attract sexually mature females for oviposition whereas immature females prefer yellow colours.

Females oviposit an average of 210 eggs (El Nahal et al., 1971). Fetoh (2006) recorded a mean egg production of 322.6. The eggs are laid in groups of 5-15 (El Nahal et al., 1971). After the eggs hatch, the young larvae start to feed in the host, causing damage to the fruit. The final instar larvae of Bactrocera drop to the ground, find a crack to drop into, and then form a puparium within which pupation takes place.

Patel and Patel (1998) reared D. ciliatus in the laboratory (in Coccinia grandis) and noted that larval development took 4-7 days, pupariation 7-14 days, and adult longevity was 13-27 days, depending on the season. El Nahal et al. (1971) reported similar results from Cucurbita pepo, except that they reported a pupation period of up to 40 days. Fetoh (2006) reared D. ciliatus under laboratory conditions on marrow fruits and recorded the following mean life spans: egg, 3.0 ± 0.8 days; larva, 7.3 ± 2.7 days; pupa, 9.3 ± 1.9 days; adult, 14-45 days.

In laboratory conditions, the adults may live for up to 4 months with constant sources of protein and sucrose (El Nahal et al., 1971; Yarom et al., 1997). On the other hand, if deprived from food, the adults die in about 2-3 days (El Nahal et al., 1971). Fetoh (2006) recorded a sex ratio of 1:1.

In comparison to the related species B. cucurbitae,D. ciliatus is characterised by early reproduction, lower oviposition time, shorter life span, and lower fecundity (Vayssières et al., 2008). The adults are classified as K-strategists (Vayssières et al., 2002).

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Biosteres longicaudatus Parasite Larvae
Dirhinus anthracina Parasite Pupae
Dirhinus himalayanus Parasite Pupae
Fopius arisanus Parasite Eggs/Larvae/Pupae
Fopius caudatus Parasite Larvae
Opius perproximus Parasite Larvae
Opius phaeostigma Parasite Larvae
Psyttalia concolor Parasite Larvae
Tetrastichus dacicida Parasite Pupae
Tetrastichus giffardianus Parasite Pupae
Tetrastichus giffardii Parasite Larvae

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Apart from the parasitoids listed, the following species: Pachycrepoideus vindemmiae, Spalangia gemina, Spalangia afra, Spalangia cameroni (Pteromalidae), Dirhinoides wohlfartia [Dirhinus wohlfahrtiae], Dirhinus graffic and Dirhinus luzonsis (Chalcididae) were detected on D. ciliatus and Bactrocera zonata in Egypt (El-Sabah et al., 2004). In addition, two other unidentified parasitoid species belonging to Phoridae and Scoliidae families were recorded on the immature stages of D. ciliatus (Fetoh, 2003).

Silvestri (1913) noted that in watermelon [Citrullus lanatus], melon [Cucumis melo] and cucumber [Cucumis sativus], the larvae were not parasitized because the larvae are too deep within such large fruits. However, he reported 60% parasitism in the fruits of Momordica.


 

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Adult flight and the transport of infested fruits are the major means of movement and dispersal to previously uninfested areas. The flight capability of D. ciliatus has not been measured. Transport of plants of host species that are transported with roots from countries where these pests occur can also be a cause of dispersal of puparia.

[Erratum: In previous versions of this datasheet, it was stated that “many Bactrocera spp. can fly 50-100 km (Fletcher, 1989)” but a review of Fletcher (1989a) and Fletcher (1989b) by Hicks (2016, unpublished data, USDA) found no evidence to support this statement and it has been removed. Fletcher (1989b) provides dispersal data for only 11 of 651 species of Bactrocera, many of the case studies lack the necessary numerical data, and the study did not discern between active flight and passive wind-assisted dispersal. There are differences among fruit fly species and further studies are required to determine dispersal distances for individual species. For further information on trapping Bactrocera species to monitor movement, see Weldon et al. (2014).]

 

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop production Yes Yes
Food Yes Yes
Horticulture Yes Yes
Self-propelled Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aircraftinfested fruit Yes
Bulk freight or cargoinfested fruit Yes
Clothing, footwear and possessionsfruit in cases or bags Yes
Consumablesinfested fruit Yes
Containers and packaging - woodOf fruit cargo Yes
Land vehiclesinfested fruit Yes
Mailfruit in post Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Fruits (inc. pods) eggs; larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Growing medium accompanying plants pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Negative

Impact

Top of page D. ciliatus is one of several cucurbit fruit flies that, if uncontrolled, causes considerable loss of yield, although its impact is not as serious as the melon fly, Bactrocera curcurbitae, in areas where both species occur.

Economic Impact

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D. ciliatus is a serious pest of cucurbit crops (Hancock, 1989). It is reported to cause serious economic damage in Egypt (El Nahal et al., 1971) and South Africa (Hancock, 1989). In the Reunion Island, D. ciliatus, together with Dacus cucurbitae (and out of nine species of Tephritidae), represents the primary pests of Cucurbitaceae, having been reported in nine genera of this plant family (Dehecq, 1995; Vayssières et al., 2008).

It is an EPPO A1 quarantine pest within the category 'non-European Trypetidae' and is also of quarantine significance to CPPC (Caribbean Plant Protection Commission). However, the risk of establishment in most of the EPPO area is minimal, although in some areas, populations might enter and multiply during the summer months and, in southern areas may survive several winters (EPPO, 2009). The direct losses from these introductions are not believed to be high. However, its presence may cause indirect economic impact by restricting exports.

In southern areas, some populations might survive one or several winters, although the direct losses from such introductions would probably not be high. The major risk for EPPO countries arises from the probable imposition of much stricter phytosanitary restrictions on exported fruits (particularly to America) if Bactrocera spp. or tropical Dacus spp., such as D. ciliatus, enter and multiply, even temporarily.

 

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
Impact outcomes
  • Host damage
  • Monoculture formation
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control

Uses List

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General

  • Laboratory use
  • Research model

Detection and Inspection

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There is little information about the efficacy of traps to detect D. ciliatus. D. ciliatus is a particularly difficult species to detect or monitor as the males do not respond to the male lure chemical that is relied upon to detect most other pest species of Dacus or Bactrocera (Qureshi et al., 1986). The males are not attracted to cue lure or vert lure (Hancock, 1985). Detection is therefore only possible by examination of fruit for oviposition punctures and then rearing the larvae through to the adult stage (EPPO, 2009).

However, both sexes may be monitored using protein bait traps (either protein hydrolysate or protein autolysate); see Drew (1982) for further details. More recent experimental essays led to the conclusion that the fly seems to be attracted to low concentrations of some “food lures” and to volatiles emanating from mature melons (D Nestel, Agriculture Research Center, Israel, personal communication, 2008). Sookar et al. (2001), during a field cage trial in order to determine the preference of fruit flies to two types of bait (commercial and local), found no significant differences among the trap catches for D. ciliatus.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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D. ciliatus is a very variable species (White, 2006). Most specimens have a dark sublateral spot on tergite III, and the apical wing spot usually extends narrowly across most of the wing apex; it can be confused with Dacus frontalis. Teneral specimens are easily confused with several other sg. Didacus and sg. Lophodacus spp. It can be confused with both D. frontalis and Dacus vertebrates, which belong to the subgenus Didacus and are common pests of cucurbit crops in Africa. Also refer to 'Description'. 

One very simple and practical diagnostic difference is provided by male lure response. D. frontalis males are attracted to traps baited with cue lure; D. vertebrates males are attracted to traps baited with vert lure (Hancock, 1985); D. ciliatus males are not attracted to either of these lures (nor to any other known male lure). White and Elson-Harris (1994) reviewed these lures.

Prevention and Control

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When detected, it is important to gather all infested host fruits and destroy them. Protein baited traps should be used to monitor population size and spread continuously.

Insecticide protection is possible by using a cover spray (the bait sprays used against fruit flies in tree fruits are not generally used for cucurbit crops). Shaheen et al. (1973) found that sprays of pirimiphos-methyl or trichlorphon were effective against D. ciliatus on autumn plantings of Cucumis melo (snake cucumber and sweetmelon). Saddik and Rizkallah (1970) found that fenthion and trichlorphon all increased yield. Kazi (1976) found that adult D. ciliatus moved to non-host 'rest plants' between 1700h and 0800h, and suggested that the flies might be better controlled there, rather than on the larval host.

D.ciliatus adults are highly sensitive to low concentrations of spinosad baited with 1% yeast hydrolysate and 10% sucrose as phagostimulant; specifically 8.5 ppm had a 90% efficacy on females (Nestel et al., 2004). Chakravarthy et al. (2007) found that a garlic barrier (GB Ag; garlic juice 99.98% pure) lowered the infestation of D. ciliatus when used on gherkin cultivation. Moreover, Hussein et al. (2006) showed that the entomopathogenic nematodes, Steinernema feltiae (NC) and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora (BA1) efficiently controlled D. ciliatus larvae and pupae, whereas treatment with profenofos and pirimiphos-methyl caused even higher mortality. On the other hand, organophosphates were proved to be ineffective for the control of D. ciliatus, but pyrethroids have high potential for controlling it, showing satisfactory killing ability, massive knockdown effect, and prevention of oviposition (Maklakov et al., 2001).

Nestel found that pesticides such as Telstar (pyrethroid), Mospilan (neonicotinoid) and Avisect were effective against D. ciliatus. Organic insecticides such as Karlic@ and Hot-Pepper@ did not show any effectiveness in killing or deterring the fly (D Nestel, Agriculture Research Center, Israel, personal communication, 2008).

Physical protection provides a more environmentally acceptable approach. In Senegal, where D. ciliatus and Dacus vertebrates cause heavy losses to cantaloupe melon [Cucumis melo] production, it was found that growing under the protection of tunnels increased yield (Froissart et al., 1995; Vaissière and Froissart, 1996).

Phytosanitary Measures

Consignments of fruits from countries where these pests occur should be inspected for symptoms of infestation and suspect fruit should be cut open in order to look for larvae. EPPO recommends that such fruits should come from an area where D. ciliatus does not occur and where routine intensive control measures are applied (OEPP/EPPO, 1990). The fruits may also be treated in transit by cold treatment (13 or 14 days at 0.0 or 0.6°C, respectively) or, for certain types of fruits, by vapour heat (keeping at 43-44°C for 6-9 h, according to commodity) (FAO, 1983), or hot water treatment. Treatment methods against fruit flies are currently under review within EPPO and as part of a common programme of the regional plant protection organizations.

Plants of host species transported with roots from countries where these pests occur should be free from soil, or the soil should be treated against puparia. The plants should not carry fruits. Importation of such plants may indeed be prohibited.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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There are many gaps in knowledge concerning this species, including:

  • Few studies have been carried out on the biology of this species
  • There is only one study on the demographic parameters of this species
  • There is little information about trapping methods or attractive substances - there is only one study about the attraction of D. ciliatus to several known lures for fruit flies
  • There is little information about pesticide sensitivity.

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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11/08/2008 Updated by:

Ana Larcher Carvalho, Biologika consulting, Ag & Rural Development Tv do Terreirinho, 11, 2-D, 1100-600 Lisboa, Portugal

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