The Mediterranean Fruit Fly ( Publisher's URL )

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The Mediterranean Fruit Fly
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Knapp, J.L.
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
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"Reviewed: April 1998"
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1.This document is ENY-809, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Reviewed: April 1998. Please visit the FAIRS Web site at .The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide resea rch, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function wit hout regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap, or national ori gin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of F ood and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean2.Joseph L. Knapp, Professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, Citrus REC Lake Alfred, Cooperative Extension Service, In stitute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.Figure 1 Female Mediterranean Fruit Fly. Figure 2 V-shaped e gg -layin g puncture made by Medfly.ENY-809The Mediterranean Fruit Fly1Joseph L. Knapp2The Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiederemann), commonly called the Medfly, is the worlds most important and widespread citrus pest in the fruit fly group and is recognized by some as the worst pest of citrus fruit. Exact economic loss caused by this pest varies in the countries where it occurs. It is a major pest in some and of lesser importance in others. Citrus losses due to this pest in Greece have run as high as 50 percent in some years. The adult fly is a little smaller than a house fly, with picture wings typical of fruit flies (Figure 1). Eyes tend to be dark blue. Its thorax (body part between the headdrops to the ground and the larvae enter the soil to and abdomen) is glistening black with a mosaic patternpupate (Figure 4). At the end of the pupal period the of yellowish-white bands. The abdomen is yellowishadults emerge from the soil (Figure 5). with two silvery crossbands. The wings are banded and blotched with yellow, brown and black and are usually held in a drooping position. The adult female pierces the skin of the fruit with a needle-like ovipositor, usually depositing from 1 to 10 eggs in each puncture (Figure 2). Other medflies may oviposit in the same puncture, which is often referred to as a weep hole, Several hundred eggs have been found in a single cavity. The female can lay up to 800 eggs in her lifetime under favorable conditions. Eggs hatch into maggots (legless larvae) which feed upon the fruit pulp (Figure 3). As many as 115 have been found in a single infested fruit. Soft spots appear which indicate decay is starting in the interior of the fruit. Generally, the fruit


The Mediterranean Fruit Fly Pa g e 2May 1998 Figure 3 Medfly larva, or ma gg ot. Figure 4 Circular exit hole made by mature larva. Figure 5 Medfly pupae in the soil.Life expectancy for the most part depends upon themedfly number well over 250 species of fruit and climatic conditions. Optimum temperatures for the mostvegetable plants, including many which occur in Florida, rapid development are in the range of 70 to 90 ( F. Undersuch as tomato, strawberry, papaya, pond apple, the most favorable conditions, eggs hatch in about 36 pawpaw, Natal plum, passionflower, cactus, and hours and the larvae reach maturity in about 7 days. Thepersimmon. pupal period can be as short as 8 days, and adults may reach sexual maturity in 4 to 5 days. A life cycle, under favorable conditions, may be completed in about 3 weeks. However, under south Florida conditions, about 30 days were required in 1956. Studies have shown that 10 generations of the medfly could develop under the normal, year-round conditions prevailing in the latitude of Orlando, Florida. More may be expected in areas farther south, less in areas farther north.DistributionA native of Africa, the medfly has spread throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In the Western Hemisphere, the medfly has been reported from Argentina, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hawaii, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Since 1929, the United States has been involved in several outbreaks and eradication programs. The first Florida outbreak in 1929 took 18 months and $7 million to eradicate with a combination of fruit removal and intensive poisoning. Subsequent infestations in Florida are detailed in Table 1.HostsPreferred hosts in Florida are citrus, Surinam cherry, mango, Barbados cherry, peach, white sapote, plum, pear, rose apple and catley guava. However, the known hosts of Economic ImportanceIn addition to the reduction in citrus yield, infested areas have the additional expense of control measures and costly sorting processes for both fresh and processed fruit. Many countries maintain quarantines against the medfly, which could jeopardize some fresh fruit markets if it should become established. All medfly host plants grown commercially in Florida contribute $10 billion to the states economy. If3this revenue were lost, the state of Florida would have to collect an additional $700 in taxes for every individual (based on the current population of 14.5 million). This3. Private communication from Dr. John Van Sickle, Dept. of Food and Resource Economics, Univ. of Florida.


The Mediterranean Fruit Fly Pa g e 3May 1998would dramatically diminish many peoples quality of life.Detection and Control Measures Traps -Survey tool for detection. Quarantines -Quarantine does not mean no movement; it means movement only after inspection and appropriate treatment to ensure compliance with the regulations. Some products may be dried; some may go into cold storage for set periods at required temperatures; and some may be canned or processed with correct disposal of culls and waste material. Operations for growers under quarantine in California have meant methyl bromide fumigation, and commodities must be moved in closed and sealed vehicles. In California, the San Jose farmers market closed down due to quarantine restrictions preventing open truck and open display of fruit to prevent exposure to the flies. Release of sterile male flies.Table 1. Mediterranean fruit fly detections in Florida (1) YearAffected areaArea involvedCostDuration 1929Orlando20 counties$7.5 million18 months (2) 1956North Miami28 counties$11 million18 months (2) 1962Miami3 counties$1 million11 months (2) 1963Miami1 county$100,0004 months 1967Miami1 county<$100,0002 months 1981Tampa1 county$1 million3 months (2) 1983Miami1 county$100,0003 months 1984Miami1 county$1 million4.5 months (2) 1985Miami1 county$1.3 million5 months (2) 1986Pinellas County1 county$100,0003 months 1987Miami1 county$1.1 million5 months (2) 1988Miami1 county$100,0004 months (2) 1990Miami1 county$1.5 million4 months (2) 1990Ft. Lauderdale1 county(Included in Miami 1990)3 months 1991Altamonte Sprin g s1 county $100,000 3 months 1997 -At the time of this publication (July 11, 1997), an additional medfly eradication pro g ram is underway, with detections in Hillsborou g h (Tampa), Polk and Manatee counties. One fly has been detected in Oran g e county. (1) Richard A. Clark, Gary J. Steck and Howard V. Weems, Jr. Detection, quarantine, and eradication of exotic fruit flies in Florida in Pest Management in the Subtropics: Integrated Pest Management, A Florida Perspective, David Rosen, Fred D. Bennett and John L. Capinera, editors. Intercept, Ltd., Andover, UK. 1996. p.49. (2) Eradication campai g ns