Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Bactrocera cucurbitae
(melon fly)

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Datasheet

Bactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 14 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Bactrocera cucurbitae
  • Preferred Common Name
  • melon fly
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Considered native to India, B. cucurbitae, the melon fly, is now found in more than 40 countries. The potential risk of its introduction to a new area is facilitated by an increase in international tourism and tr...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Bactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly); adult at rest. Bisai Bigha, Nalanda, Bihar, India (Latitude 25.18 N, Longitude 85.30 E and Altitude 62m amsl).
TitleAdult
CaptionBactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly); adult at rest. Bisai Bigha, Nalanda, Bihar, India (Latitude 25.18 N, Longitude 85.30 E and Altitude 62m amsl).
Copyright©Dr Chandra Shekhar Prabhakar-2014
Bactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly); adult at rest. Bisai Bigha, Nalanda, Bihar, India (Latitude 25.18 N, Longitude 85.30 E and Altitude 62m amsl).
AdultBactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly); adult at rest. Bisai Bigha, Nalanda, Bihar, India (Latitude 25.18 N, Longitude 85.30 E and Altitude 62m amsl).©Dr Chandra Shekhar Prabhakar-2014
Bactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly); three adults at rest on a pigeon pea leaf (Cajanus cajan) in the vicinity of cucurbit plants. Bisai Bigha, Nalanda, Bihar, India (Latitude 25.18 N, Longitude 85.30 E and Altitude 62m amsl). October, 2014.
TitleAdults at rest
CaptionBactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly); three adults at rest on a pigeon pea leaf (Cajanus cajan) in the vicinity of cucurbit plants. Bisai Bigha, Nalanda, Bihar, India (Latitude 25.18 N, Longitude 85.30 E and Altitude 62m amsl). October, 2014.
Copyright©Dr Chandra Shekhar Prabhakar-2014
Bactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly); three adults at rest on a pigeon pea leaf (Cajanus cajan) in the vicinity of cucurbit plants. Bisai Bigha, Nalanda, Bihar, India (Latitude 25.18 N, Longitude 85.30 E and Altitude 62m amsl). October, 2014.
Adults at restBactrocera cucurbitae (melon fly); three adults at rest on a pigeon pea leaf (Cajanus cajan) in the vicinity of cucurbit plants. Bisai Bigha, Nalanda, Bihar, India (Latitude 25.18 N, Longitude 85.30 E and Altitude 62m amsl). October, 2014.©Dr Chandra Shekhar Prabhakar-2014

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Bactrocera cucurbitae Coquillett

Preferred Common Name

  • melon fly

Other Scientific Names

  • Bactrocera (Zeugodacus) cucurbitae (Coquillett)
  • Chaetodacus cucurbitae (Coquillett)
  • Dacus cucurbitae Coquillett
  • Dacus yayeyamanus
  • Strumeta cucurbitae Coquillett
  • Zeugodacus cucurbitae (Coquillett)

International Common Names

  • English: melon fruit fly
  • Spanish: mosca del melon
  • French: mouche de melon; mouche du concombre

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Fliege, Tropische Melonen-
  • Italy: mosca del melone
  • Japan: uri-mibae

EPPO code

  • DACUCU (Bactrocera cucurbitae)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Considered native to India, B. cucurbitae, the melon fly, is now found in more than 40 countries. The potential risk of its introduction to a new area is facilitated by an increase in international tourism and trade, and is influenced by changes in climate and land use. After introduction, it can easily disperse due to its high reproductive potential, high biotic potential (short life cycle of 3-5 weeks, up to 10 generations of offspring per year), and a rapid dispersal ability.

The economic impacts of this species result primarily from the loss of export markets and the costly requirement of quarantine restrictions and eradication measures. Furthermore, its establishment has a serious impact on the environment following the initiation of chemical and/or biological control programmes.

B. cucurbitae is of quarantine significance to EPPO (European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization), APPPC (Asia and Pacific Plant Protection Commission), COSAV (Comité de Sanidad Vegetal del Cono Sur), CPPC (Caribbean Plant Protection Commission), and OIRSA (Organismo Internacional Regional de Sanidad Agropecuaria) countries.

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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B. cucurbitae was first described by Coquillett in 1899 from material collected in the Hawaiian Islands. There are no published synonyms, but it has been used in some other generic combinations, most notably as Dacus cucurbitae. It is a member of the subgenus Zeugodacus and is therefore sometimes cited as Bactrocera (Zeugodacus) cucurbitae.

Description

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Adult

Adult description derived from computer-generated description from White and Hancock (1997). Larval description from White and Elson-Harris (1994).

Head: Pedicel+1st flagellomere not longer than ptilinal suture. Face with a dark spot in each antennal furrow; facial spot round to elongate. Frons - 2-3 pairs frontal setae; 1 pair orbital setae.

Thorax: Predominant colour of scutum red-brown. Postpronotal (=humeral) lobe entirely pale (yellow or orange). Notopleuron yellow. Scutum with parallel sided lateral postsutural vittae (yellow/orange stripes) which extend anterior to suture and posteriorly to level of the intra-alar setae. Medial vitta present; not extended anterior to suture. Scutellum yellow, except for narrow basal band. Anepisternal stripe not reaching anterior notopleural seta. Yellow marking on both anatergite and katatergite. Postpronotal lobe (=humerus) without a seta. Notopleuron with anterior seta. Scutum with or without anterior supra-alar setae; with prescutellar acrostichal setae. Scutellum rarely (5%) with basal as well as apical pair of setae.

Wing: Length 4.2-7.1 mm. With a complete costal band; depth to below R2+3, sometimes reaching R4+5. Costal band expanded into a spot at apex, which extends about half way to M. With an anal streak. Cells bc and c colourless. May have a transverse mark over crossvein r-m. Always with transverse mark over crossvein dm-cu. Cells bc and c without extensive covering of microtrichia. Cell br (narrowed part) with extensive covering of microtrichia.

Legs: All femora pale basally, red-brown apically.

Abdomen: Predominant colour orange-brown. Tergites not fused. Abdomen not wasp waisted. Pattern distinct; transverse band across tergite 3; tergite 4 dark laterally; medial longitudinal stripe on T3-5.

Terminalia and secondary sexual characters: male wing without a bulla. Male tergite 3 with a pecten (setal comb) on each side. Male sternite 5 not V-shaped. Surstylus (male) with a long posterior lobe. Wing (male) with a deep indent in posterior margin. Hind tibia (male) with a preapical pad. Aculeus apex pointed.

Egg

The eggs of Bactrocera olae were described in detail by Margaritis (1985) and those of other species are probably very similar. Size, 0.8 mm long, 0.2 mm wide, with the micropyle protruding slightly at the anterior end. The chorion is reticulate (requires scanning electron microscope examination). White to yellow-white in colour.

Larva

Third instar larva: Large, length 9.0-11.0 mm; width 1.0-2.0 mm.

Head: Stomal sensory organ small, completely surrounded by 6-7 large preoral lobes, some bearing serrated edges similar to oral ridges; oral ridges with 17-23 rows of moderately long, uniform, bluntly rounded teeth; accessory plates numerous, with serrated edges and interlocking with oral ridges; mouthhooks large, heavily sclerotized, each with a small, but well-defined preapical tooth.

Thoracic and abdominal segments: anterior portion of T1 with an encircling, broad band of spinules which dorsally and laterally form small plates 7-10 rows deep, becoming discontinuous rows ventrally; T2 with smaller, stouter spinules, forming 5-7 discontinuous rows around anterior portion of segment; T3 similar to T2, but reduced to 4-6 rows. Creeping welts obvious, with 9-13 rows of small spinules. A8 with large well rounded intermediate areas, almost linked by a large, slightly curved, pigmented transverse line (mature larvae only). Tubercles and sensilla well defined.

Anterior spiracles: 16-20 tubules.

Posterior spiracles: spiracular slits large, with heavily sclerotized rimae; about 3 times as long as broad. Spiracular hairs long, fine and often branched in apical half; dorsal and ventral bundles of 6-12 spiracular hairs; lateral bundles of 4-6 hairs.

Anal area: lobes large with a lightly sculptured surface, surrounded by 3-7 rows of spinules. Around outer edges spinules small, in discontinuous rows; closer to anal lobes, spinules becoming stouter, and forming small groups below anal opening.

Puparium

Barrel-shaped with most larval features unrecognisable, the exception being the anterior and posterior spiracles which are little changed by pupariation. White to yellow-brown in colour. Usually about 60-80% length of larva.

Distribution

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The Asian parts of the range of this species represent its natural (native) range. In Hawaii it is known to be an introduction, having arrived there late in the 19th century (Clausen, 1978). Old records for Australia derive from an eradicated outbreak in Darwin (ca. 1910), but as no specimens could be traced this may have been based on a misidentification of Bactrocera chorista (IM White, IIE, personal communication, 1996).

In Africa, B. cucurbitae is found in several countries in East and West Africa, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo in West Africa, and Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda in East Africa (Meyer et al., 2007).

The distribution of this species was mapped by Drew (1982) and International Institute of Entomology (1995). The distribution map includes records of B. cucurbitae from the collection in the National History Museum (London, UK). See also CABI/EPPO (2003, No. 64).

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

AfghanistanPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
BangladeshWidespread Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
BhutanPresentEPPO, 2014
Brunei DarussalamPresent Invasive Waterhouse, 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
CambodiaPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
ChinaRestricted distribution Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-FujianPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-GuangdongPresent Invasive Liang et al., 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-GuangxiPresent Invasive Liang et al., 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-GuizhouPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-HainanPresent Invasive Liang et al., 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Hong KongWidespread Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-JiangsuPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-YunnanPresent Invasive Liang et al., 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-ZhejiangPresentEPPO, 2014
Christmas Island (Indian Ocean)Present Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
East TimorPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
IndiaWidespreadNative Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; Dhillon et al., 2005; EPPO, 2014
-Andaman and Nicobar IslandsPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Andhra PradeshPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-AssamPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-BiharPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-DelhiPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-GujaratPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-HaryanaPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Himachal PradeshPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Indian PunjabPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Jammu and KashmirPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-KarnatakaPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-KeralaPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Madhya PradeshPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-MaharashtraPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-OdishaPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-RajasthanPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Tamil NaduPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Uttar PradeshPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-UttarakhandPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-West BengalPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
IndonesiaPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Irian JayaPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-JavaPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-KalimantanPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Nusa TenggaraPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-SulawesiPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-SumatraPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
IranPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
JapanEradicated1993Introduced1919Koyama et al., 2004; EPPO, 2014
-Ryukyu ArchipelagoEradicated1993EPPO, 2014
LaosPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
MalaysiaWidespread Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-SabahPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-SarawakPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
MyanmarPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
NepalPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
OmanPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
PakistanPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
PhilippinesPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
Saudi ArabiaPresent Invasive EPPO, 2014
SingaporePresent Invasive AVA, 2001; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
Sri LankaPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
TaiwanWidespread Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
ThailandPresent Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
United Arab EmiratesPresentIntroduced Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
VietnamPresent Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014

Africa

BeninPresentIntroduced2004 Invasive Vayssières et al., 2007; EPPO, 2014
Burkina FasoPresentIntroduced Invasive Vayssières et al., 2007; EPPO, 2014
CameroonPresentIntroduced Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
ComorosPresentMsaidie and Soilihi, 2000
Congo Democratic RepublicPresentIntroduced Invasive Vayssières et al., 2007; EPPO, 2014
Côte d'IvoirePresentIntroduced Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
EgyptAbsent, unreliable recordCABI/EPPO, 2003; Meyer et al., 2007; EPPO, 2014
GambiaPresentIntroduced Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
GhanaAbsent, unreliable recordEPPO, 2014
GuineaPresentIntroduced Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
KenyaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive Munro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
MaliPresentIntroduced Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
MauritiusPresentIntroduced Invasive Ramsamy et al., 1987; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
NigerPresentIntroduced Invasive Meyer et al., 2007; EPPO, 2014
NigeriaPresentIntroduced Invasive Meyer et al., 2007; Umeh et al., 2008; EPPO, 2014
RéunionPresentIntroduced Invasive Munro, 1984; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
SenegalPresentIntroduced Invasive Vayssières et al., 2007; EPPO, 2014
SeychellesPresentIntroduced1999 Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
SomaliaPresentIntroduced Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
SudanPresentEPPO, 2014
TanzaniaRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
TogoPresentIntroduced Invasive Meyer et al., 2007; EPPO, 2014
UgandaPresentIntroduced Invasive Meyer et al., 2007; EPPO, 2014

North America

USARestricted distributionIntroduced1895 Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003
-CaliforniaEradicatedIntroducedFoote et al., 1993; NAPPO, 2010; EPPO, 2014
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced1895 Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014

Oceania

AustraliaPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced1997 Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
-QueenslandPresent, few occurrencesIntroduced1997 Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
GuamRestricted distributionIntroduced Invasive CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
KiribatiPresentIntroduced Invasive Waterhouse, 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
NauruPresentIntroduced1982 Invasive Waterhouse, 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014Eradicated 1999, reintroduced 2001
New ZealandAbsent, confirmed by surveyBaker and Cowley, 1991; EPPO, 2014
Northern Mariana IslandsRestricted distributionIntroduced1943 Invasive Waterhouse, 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced Invasive Drew, 1982; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014
Solomon IslandsRestricted distributionWaterhouse, 1993; CABI/EPPO, 2003; EPPO, 2014

History of Introduction and Spread

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The first B. cucurbitae specimens from Africa are from the early 1930s, but it is possible that the fly has been established on the continent for much longer. It was restricted to eastern Africa for several decades, but has recently been reported from western Africa and the Seychelles (Meyer et al., 2007).

B. cucurbitae was first found in Hawaii in the 1890s (Meyer et al., 2007).

In November 1999, B. cucurbitae was detected for the first time in the Seychelles. It is believed that the flies came from infested fruits and vegetables from a meal served on a plane, and the waste was not correctly treated at the airport. B. cucurbitae established quickly on Mahe Island and then invaded the other islands of the archipelago. An eradication programme was planned for 2004 after delimitation of the infestation (Knight, 2003).

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
Northern Mariana Islands Guam 1981 Food (pathway cause) ,
Live food or feed trade (pathway cause)
Yes No EPPO (2006); Waterhouse (1993); Waterhouse (1993a); Waterhouse (1993b) Detected in 1943, eradicated in 1963, re-established in 1981
Seychelles 1999 Hitchhiker (pathway cause) Yes No EPPO (2006) Probably discarded food in the airport

Risk of Introduction

Top of page The major risk is from the import of fruit containing larvae, either as part of cargo, or through the smuggling of fruit in airline passenger baggage or mail. For example, in New Zealand Baker and Cowley (1991) recorded 7-33 interceptions of fruit flies per year in cargo and 10-28 per year in passenger baggage. Private individuals who successfully smuggle fruit are likely to discard it when they discover that it is rotten. Isolated catches of B. cucurbitae in cue lure baited traps in California, USA (Foote et al., 1993) probably had an origin of this sort.

Habitat List

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CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial-managed
Cultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Managed forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial-natural/semi-natural
Arid regions Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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B. cucurbitae is a very serious pest of cucurbit crops. According to Weems (1964), it has been recorded from over 125 plants, including members of families other than Cucurbitaceae; however, many of those records were based on casual observation of adults resting on plants or caught in traps set in non-host trees. In common with some other species of subgenus Bactrocera (Zeugodacus) it can attack flowers as well as fruit, and additionally, will sometimes attack stem and root tissue. In Hawaii, pumpkin and squash fields (varieties of Cucurbita pepo) have been known to be heavily attacked before fruit had even set, with eggs being laid into unopened male and female flowers, and larvae even developing successfully in the taproots, stems and leaf stalks (Back and Pemberton, 1914). Most of the records listed are from recently published host catalogues that were largely based on extensive rearing programmes (Tsuruta et al., 1997; Allwood, et al., 2000); doubtful records are omitted.

Primary hosts are species of Cucurbitacaeae, as follows: Cucumis melo (Drew, 1989; Allwood et al., 2000), Cucurbita maxima (Tsuruta et al., 1997; Allwood et al., 2000), Cucurbita pepo (Drew, 1989; Allwood et al., 2000) and Trichosanthes cucumerina (Tsuruta et al., 1997; Allwood et al., 2000).

Secondary hosts are species of Cucurbitaceae and rarely species of other families, as follows:

Cucurbitaceae: Benincasa hispida (Allwood et al., 2000) fruit and flowers, Citrullus colocynthis (White and Elson-Harris, 1994), Citrullus lanatus (Allwood et al., 2000), Coccinia grandis (Tsuruta et al., 1997; Allwood et al., 2000) fruit and flowers, Cucumis anguria (Ravi et al., 1998), Cucumis sativus (Drew, 1989; Tsuruta et al., 1997; Allwood et al., 2000), Cucurbita moschata (Allwood et al., 2000) fruit and flowers, Lagenaria siceraria (Tsuruta et al., 1997; Allwood et al., 2000), Luffa acutangula (Tsuruta et al., 1997; Allwood et al., 2000), Luffa aegyptiaca (Allwood et al., 2000) fruit and flowers, Momordica balsamina (White and Elson-Harris, 1994), Momordica charantia (Drew, 1989; Tsuruta et al., 1997; Allwood et al., 2000), Momordica cochinchinensis (White and Elson-Harris, 1994) and Momordica dioica (Ranganath and Veenakumari, 1995).

Caricaceae: Carica papaya (Tsuruta et al., 1997); Fabaceae: Phaseolus vulgaris, Vigna sinensis [Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata] and Vigna unguiculata (Allwood et al., 2000); Loganiaceae: Strychnos nux-vomica (Tsuruta et al., 1997); Malvaceae: Abelmoschus moschatus (Allwood et al., 2000); Myrtaceae: Psidium guajava (Allwood et al., 2000); Pandanaceae: Pandanus odoratissimus [Pandanus odorifer] (Tsuruta et al., 1997); Passifloraceae: Passiflora edulis (Tsuruta et al., 1997); Rhamnaceae: Ziziphus jujuba (Allwood et al., 2000); Sapotaceae: Manilkara zapota (Allwood et al., 2000); Solanaceae: Lycopersicon esculentum (Allwood et al., 2000).

Wild hosts of B. cucurbitae are wild species of Cucurbitaceae and rarely fruits of other families, as follows:

Cucurbitaceae: Cucumis trigonus [Cucumis melo subsp. melo] (White and Elson-Harris, 1994), Diplocyclos palmatus (Tsuruta et al., 1997), Gymnopetalum integrifolium (Allwood et al., 2000), Melothria wallichii (Allwood et al., 2000), Mukia maderaspatana [Cucumis maderaspatanus] (Ranganath and Veenakumari, 1995), Trichosanthes ovigera, Trichosanthes tricuspidata, Trichosanthes wallichiana and Trichosantheswawraei (Allwood et al., 2000).

Agavaceae: Dracaena curtissi (Allwood et al., 2000); Capparidaceae: Capparis sepiaria, Capparis thorellii and Maerua siamensis (Allwood et al., 2000); Moraceae: Ficus chartacea (Allwood et al., 2000); Rutaceae: Citrus hystrix (Allwood et al., 2000); Solanaceae: Solanum trilobatum (Allwood et al., 2000); and Vitaceae: Tetrastigma lanceolarium (Allwood et al., 2000).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Abelmoschus moschatus (muskmallow)MalvaceaeOther
Artocarpus heterophyllus (jackfruit)MoraceaeOther
Benincasa hispida (wax gourd)CucurbitaceaeOther
Capparis sepiaria (indian caper)CapparaceaeWild host
Capparis thorelliiCapparaceaeWild host
Carica papaya (pawpaw)CaricaceaeOther
Citrullus colocynthis (colocynth)CucurbitaceaeOther
Citrullus lanatus (watermelon)CucurbitaceaeOther
Citrus hystrix (mauritius bitter orange)RutaceaeWild host
Citrus maxima (pummelo)RutaceaeOther
Citrus sinensis (navel orange)RutaceaeOther
Coccinia grandis (scarlet-fruited ivy gourd)CucurbitaceaeOther
Cucumis anguria (gerkin)CucurbitaceaeOther
Cucumis maderaspatanusCucurbitaceaeWild host
Cucumis melo (melon)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cucumis melo subsp. meloCucurbitaceaeWild host
Cucumis sativus (cucumber)CucurbitaceaeOther
Cucurbita maxima (giant pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cucurbita moschata (pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeOther
Cucurbita pepo (marrow)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cucurbitaceae (cucurbits)CucurbitaceaeWild host
Cydonia oblonga (quince)RosaceaeOther
Cyphomandra betacea (tree tomato)SolanaceaeOther
Diplocyclos palmatusWild host
Dracaena curtissiAgavaceaeWild host
Ficus carica (common fig)MoraceaeOther
Ficus chartaceaMoraceaeWild host
Gymnopetalum integrifoliumCucurbitaceaeWild host
Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd)CucurbitaceaeOther
Luffa acutangula (angled luffa)CucurbitaceaeOther
Luffa aegyptiaca (loofah)CucurbitaceaeOther
Maerua siamensisCapparaceaeWild host
Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeOther
Manilkara zapota (sapodilla)SapotaceaeOther
Melothria wallichiiCucurbitaceaeWild host
Momordica balsamina (common balsamapple)CucurbitaceaeOther
Momordica charantia (bitter gourd)CucurbitaceaeOther
Momordica cochinchinensisCucurbitaceaeOther
Momordica dioicaCucurbitaceaeOther
Pandanus odoriferPandanaceaeOther
Passiflora (passionflower)PassifloraceaeOther
Passiflora edulis (passionfruit)PassifloraceaeOther
Persea americana (avocado)LauraceaeOther
Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)FabaceaeOther
Prunus persica (peach)RosaceaeOther
Psidium guajava (guava)MyrtaceaeOther
Sechium edule (chayote)CucurbitaceaeOther
Sesbania grandiflora (agati)FabaceaeOther
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeOther
Solanum trilobatumSolanaceaeWild host
Strychnos nux-vomica (nux-vomica tree)LoganiaceaeOther
Syzygium samarangense (water apple)MyrtaceaeOther
Tetrastigma lanceolariumVitaceaeWild host
Trichosanthes cucumerina (snake gourd)CucurbitaceaeMain
Trichosanthes ovigeraCucurbitaceaeWild host
Trichosanthes tricuspidataCucurbitaceaeWild host
Trichosanthes wallichianaCucurbitaceaeWild host
Trichosanthes wawraeiCucurbitaceaeWild host
Vigna unguiculata (cowpea)FabaceaeOther
Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculataFabaceaeOther
Ziziphus jujuba (common jujube)RhamnaceaeOther

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Post-harvest

Symptoms

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Following oviposition there may be some necrosis around the puncture mark ('sting'). This is followed by decompostion of the fruit.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / internal feeding
Fruit / lesions: black or brown
Inflorescence / internal feeding
Leaves / internal feeding
Roots / internal feeding
Stems / internal feeding

Biology and Ecology

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Eggs (up to 40) are laid below the skin of the host fruit; a female may lay more than 1000 eggs. These hatch within 1-2 days and the larvae feed for another 4-17 days (longest in thick-skinned fruits such as pumpkin). Pupariation is in the soil under the host plant for 7-13 days, but may be delayed for several weeks under cool conditions. Adults occur throughout the year and begin mating (at dusk) after about 10-12 days, and may live 5-15 months depending on temperature (longer in cool conditions); data from Christenson and Foote (1960), Clausen (1978) and Waterhouse (1993). Adult flight and the transport of infected fruit are the major means of movement and dispersal to previously uninfected areas. This is one of the most common species attracted to cue lure.

The biological basis of cue lure attraction is under investigation; Shelley and Villalobos (1995) showed that wing vibrating activity increased following a cue lure feed, and evidence from other species suggests that in nature feeding on certain chemicals increases mating success (see White, 2000, for a review).

[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).]

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Tolerated Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Preferred > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
23 23

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) 6 0
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 23 32
Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 30 35
Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) 16 26

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Dry season duration36number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall
Mean annual rainfall2502620mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

Top of page Bimodal
Summer
Uniform
Winter

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Biosteres angaleti Parasite Larvae Hawaii vegetables
Biosteres arisanus Parasite
Biosteres dacusii Parasite Guam; Hawaii; Mariana Islands fruits; vegetables
Biosteres longicaudatus Parasite Larvae Hawaii vegetables
Diachasmimorpha hageni Parasite Larvae
Diachasmimorpha tryoni Parasite Larvae
Dirhinus anthracia Parasite Pupae
Dirhinus anthracina Parasite Pupae
Doryctobracon areolatus Parasite Hawaii vegetables
Opius fletcheri Parasite Larvae Guam; Hawaii; Mariana Islands; Ryukyu Archipelago Cucurbitaceae; fruits; vegetables
Opius humilis Parasite Guam; Mariana Islands fruits; vegetables
Orius sauteri Predator
Psyttalia incisi Parasite Larvae
Spalangia endius Parasite Pupae Sri Lanka gourds
Spalangia hirta Parasite Pupae
Steinernema carpocapsae Parasite
Tetrastichus dacicida Parasite Larvae
Tetrastichus giffardianus Parasite Larvae

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Bactrocera spp. can be attacked as larvae either by parasitoids or by vertebrates eating fruit (either on the tree or as fallen fruit). Mortality due to vertebrate fruit consumption can be very high as can puparial mortality in the soil, either due to predation or environmental mortality (see White and Elson-Harris, 1994, for a brief review). Parasitoids appear to have little effect on the populations of most fruit flies and Fletcher (1987) noted that 0-30% levels of parasitism are typical. To date there are no records of complete biological control which, in the classical sense, has never been achieved for any Bactrocera or Dacus spp. (Wharton, 1989). Releases of Opius spp., Biosteres spp. and an un-named Spalangia sp. in Hawaii (Clausen, 1978) may have been expected to have some impact on B. cucurbitae as well as Bactrocera dorsalis. Biological control programmes can result in significant reduction in pest populations, and such reductions have led to relatively pest-free cultivation of at least some less susceptible varieties of fruits and vegetables.

Due to difficulties in verifying the identifications of both parasitoids and (in some cases) the fruit fly hosts, no attempt has been made to catalogue all natural enemy records; see White and Elson-Harris (1994) for major sources. No comprehensive list of parasitoid records is given here; the list under Natural Enemies was extracted from Wharton and Gilstrap (1983) and Waterhouse (1993).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop production Yes Yes
HitchhikerSeychelles Yes Yes
Horticulture Yes Yes
Live food or feed tradeNorthern Mariana Islands Yes Yes Waterhouse, 1993
Smuggling Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
AircraftMost frequently eggs and larvae inside fruit Yes Yes
Bulk freight or cargoAll life stages Yes Yes
Clothing, footwear and possessionsFruit in case or handbag Yes
ConsumablesMost frequently eggs and larvae inside fruit Yes Yes
Containers and packaging - woodOf fruit cargo Yes
Floating vegetation and debrisMost frequently eggs and larvae inside fruit Yes Yes
Land vehiclesLess frequently pupae Yes Yes
LuggageMost frequently eggs and larvae inside fruit Yes Yes
MailMost frequently eggs and larvae inside fruit Yes Yes
Plants or parts of plantsLess frequently eggs and larvae inside stem, root or leaves Yes Yes
Soil, sand and gravelMost frequently pupae Yes Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx eggs; larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
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
Leaves eggs; larvae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Roots eggs; larvae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches eggs; larvae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Bark
Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
True seeds (inc. grain)
Wood

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Economic/livelihood Negative
Environment (generally) Negative
Human health Negative

Impact

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B. cucurbitae is a very serious pest of cucurbit crops throughout its native range (tropical Asia) and in introduced areas such as the Hawaiian Islands. Damage levels can be anything up to 100% of unprotected fruit.

Economic Impact

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Economic impacts result from quarantine restrictions imposed by important domestic and foreign export markets and from direct yield losses from infested fruit. B. cucurbitae is a major pest of cucurbitaceous vegetables and requires costly quarantine restrictions and eradication measures. A relevant example to cite is in Japan, where B. cucurbitae and oriental fruit flies have cost the equivalent of more than 200 million Euros to eradicate from the Ryukyu Islands (Kiritani, 1998).

Environmental Impact

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Due to the competition for food, B. cucurbitae may displace other less aggressive fruit fly species. Duyck et al. (2004) suggested that the r–K gradient could be used as a predictor of the potential invasive capacity of a species. Species with type K-demographic strategy traits, such as species of the genus Bactrocera, would be adapted for competition in saturated habitats. Duyck et al. (2004) reported that in all recorded cases, species further along the r–K gradient, such as Bactrocera dorsalis have invaded over r-selected species, such as Ceratitis capitata, but never the reverse.

Impact: Biodiversity

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The environmental impact is rated as high because the establishment of B. cucurbitae would likely trigger the initiation of chemical and/or biological control programmes. Chemical control would harm native insects and species of conservation significance.

Social Impact

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Human health and tourism may be affected if plantations treated with insecticides are close to habitat and touristic resorts. However, the risk is very low because local protein bait spray and male annihilation techniques are the most common methods used for the management of B. cucurbitae.

Risk and Impact Factors

Top of page Invasiveness
  • Invasive in its native range
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
Impact outcomes
  • Host damage
  • Negatively impacts agriculture
  • Transportation disruption
Impact mechanisms
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Pest and disease transmission
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
  • Difficult/costly to control

Detection and Inspection

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Fruits (locally grown or samples of fruit imports) should be inspected for puncture marks and any associated necrosis. Suspect fruits should be cut open and checked for larvae. Larval identification is difficult, so if time allows, mature larvae should be transferred to sawdust (or a similar dry medium) to allow pupariation. Upon emergence, adult flies must be fed with sugar and water for several days to allow hardening and full colour to develop, before they can be identified. Detection is described under Control, Early Warning Systems.

For more information, see Invasive Fruit Fly Pests in Africa (Meyer et al., 2007).

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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B. cucurbitae is easily separated from most other Bactrocera and Dacus spp. by the combination of the coloured mark across the dm-cu crossvein (seen with the unaided eye as a reddish mark across the posterior half of the wing about one-third from wing apex), combined with the general reddish coloured body, and three bright yellow longitudinal vittae (stripes) on the scutum (dorsum of thorax). In addition, about 95% of individuals have only two setae on the scutellum margin, which is a rare feature in species with three vittae on the scutum. Larger than the house fly (wing length 4.2-7.1 mm).

Minimum characters to differentiate from all other Bactrocera and Dacus spp. (White and Hancock, 1997): face with a dark spot in each antennal furrow; scutum red-brown; has prescutellar acrostichal setae; fore femora pale basally, red-brown apically; wing with isolated mark along dm-cu crossvein.

Prevention and Control

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Biological Control
 

Some benefit from biological control has been claimed in Hawaii and the Ryukyu Islands, Japan (Clausen, 1978).

Regulatory Control
 

Many countries, such as the mainland USA, forbid the import of susceptible fruit without strict post-harvest treatment having been applied by the exporter. This may involve fumigation, heat treatment (hot vapour or hot water), cold treatments, insecticidal dipping, or irradiation (Armstrong and Couey, 1989). Irradiation is not accepted in most countries and fumigation is a hazardous operation. Heat treatment tends to reduce the shelf life of most fruits and so the most effective method of regulatory control is to preferentially restrict imports of a given fruit to areas free of fruit fly attack.

Cultural Control and Sanitary Methods

 

One of the most effective control techniques against fruit flies in general is to wrap fruit, either in newspaper, a paper bag, or in the case of long/thin cucurbits, a polythene sleeve. This is a simple physical barrier to oviposition, but it has to be applied well before the fruit is attacked. Little data is available on the attack time for most fruits, but few Bactrocera spp. attack prior to ripening.

Choice of planting time has also been used to help in control, for example, in India, summer-sown cucumber had a higher yield than October-sown plants (Borah, 1996). There is also some evidence that varietal resistance can be employed as a control strategy (Tewatia and Dhankhar, 1996).

Chemical Control

 

Although cover sprays of entire crops are sometimes used, the use of bait sprays is both more economical and more environmentally acceptable. A bait spray consists of a suitable insecticide (e.g. malathion) mixed with a protein bait. Both males and females of fruit flies are attracted to protein sources emanating ammonia and so insecticides can be applied to just a few spots in an orchard and the flies will be attracted to these spots. The protein most widely used is hydrolysed protein, but some supplies of this are acid hydrolysed and so highly phytotoxic. Smith and Nannan (1988) have developed a system using autolysed protein. In Malaysia this has been developed into a very effective commercial product derived from brewery waste.

There has been some recent work on the efficacy of entomopathogenic fungi to B. cucurbitae larvae (Purnima-Sinha and Saxena, 1998; 1999), but it is not clear how this could be applied without causing fruit spoilage. Tests have also shown that neem (Azadirachta indica) seed kernel extracts can be used as an oviposition deterrent (Shivendra-Singh and Singh, 1998).

Sterile Insect Technique

 

Sterile insect technique has been used to eradicate B. cucurbitae from the southern islands of Japan (Shiga, 1989 and unpublished notices at symposia).

Male Suppression/Annihilation
 

The males of most pest species of Bactrocera are attracted to either cue lure (4-(p-acetoxyphenyl)-2-butanone) or to methyl eugenol (4-allyl-1,2-dimethoxybenzene). Males of B. cucurbitae are attracted to cue lure, sometimes in very large numbers. On a small scale many farmers use male suppression as a control technique; however, with flies attracted over a few hundred metres the traps may be responsible for increasing the fly level (at least of males) on a crop as much as for reducing it. However, the technique has been used as an eradication technique (male annihilation), in combination with bait spraying (an area of the Solomon Islands, Eta, 1986).

Early Warning Systems
 

Many countries that are free of Bactrocera spp., for example, USA (California and Florida) and New Zealand, maintain a grid of methyl eugenol and cue lure traps, at least in high risk areas (ports and airports) if not around the entire climatically suitable area. The trap used will usually be modelled on the Steiner trap (White and Elson-Harris, 1994).

Field Monitoring
 

Monitoring is largely carried out by traps set in areas of infestation. However, there is evidence that some fruit flies have different host preferences in different parts of their range and host fruit surveys should also be considered as part of the monitoring process.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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The following areas are in need of research:

  • a study of the potential distribution of B. cucurbitae based on the CLIMEX model
     
  • in contrast to Oriental fruit fly complex, B. cucurbitae has not been extensively studied taxonomically
     
  • the native origin needs to be determined with modern molecular genetic tools
     
  • the genetic aspects of the invasion process of B. cucurbitae have remained relatively unexplored
     
  • an investigation into the population structure and genetic variability.

References

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Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
Featured Creatureshttp://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/
Invasive Fruit Fly Pests in Africahttp://www.africamuseum.be/fruitfly/AfroAsia.htm
Pacific Fruit Fly Webhttp://www.spc.int/pacifly/

Organizations

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Benin: IITA (Institut International d'Agriculture Tropicale), BP 08-0932 Cotonou, http://www.iita.org/

France: CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développment), Head Office, 42, rue Scheffer, 75116 Paris, http://www.cirad.fr

USA: USDA-ARS, Tropical Plant Pests Research Unit,, 64 Nowelo Street, Hilo, HI 96720, http://www.ars.usda.gov/

Contributors

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31/01/2008 Updated by:

Abdeljelil Bakri, University Cadi Ayyad, Faculty of Science Semlalia, Unit of Insect Biological Control, Boulevard Prince My Abdallah, 40 000 Marrakech, Morocco

Distribution Maps

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