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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DETECTION, CONTROL AND AREA-WIDE MANAGEMENT OF FRUIT FLIES Title: Behavioral Response of Female Melon Fly, Bactrocera Cucurbitae (Diptera: Tephritidae), to Host-Associated Visual and Olfactory Stimuli.

Authors
item Pinero, Jaime - INST. OF PLANT SCI AEETH
item Jacome, Isabel - INST. OF PLANT SCI AEETH
item Vargas, Roger
item Prokopy, Ronald - UNIV OF MASSACHUSSETTS

Submitted to: Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 16, 2006
Publication Date: December 1, 2006
Citation: Pinero, J.C., Jacome, I., Vargas, R.I., Prokopy, R.J. 2006. Behavioral response of female melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae to host-associated visual and olfactory stimuli. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 121:261-269.

Interpretive Summary: Melon fly is a serious pest of melon crops in the Hawaiian Islands. Some species of fruit flies have been controlled by attracting them to fruit mimics containing toxicants. In these studies we looked at melon fly attraction to fruit mimics of various shapes and colors. We found that female flies were particularly attracted to objects of spherical shape, colored either yellow or white followed by orange. We also evaluated attraction to several host fruit odors. The odor of cucumber was found to be the most attractive odor when compared to zucchini, papaya, tomato, or the wild gourd coccinea. A combination of both visual (i.e., yellow spheres) and olfactory (i.e., cucumber odor) cues gave the highest response of females compared to each stimulus offered alone. We discuss our results in relation to the potential implementation of improved monitoring and/or attract-and-kill strategies for melon flies in Hawaii.

Technical Abstract: In a series of studies conducted in Hawaii under semi-natural conditions, we determined the behavioral response of sexually mature, host-seeking melon fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett)) females to different types of visual and chemical host-associated stimuli with the main aim of developing a monitoring device for females. Experiments were conducted both at the ground level and at the tree-canopy level so as to take into account the foraging behavior of adult melon flies. Among fruit mimics of either spherical or cylindrical shapes and coated with one of eight different artificial pigments, females were particularly attracted to objects of spherical shape, colored either yellow or white followed by orange; these three pigments offered the highest reflectance values. Among four different types of host plant odor evaluated, cucumber was the most attractive for females when compared with other cultivated hosts (zucchini, papaya, or tomato) or compared with one of its major wild hosts in Hawaii, ivy gourd (Coccinia grandis (L.) Voigt). A combination of both visual (i.e., yellow spheres) and olfactory (i.e., cucumber odor) stimuli elicited the highest response of females compared to each stimulus offered alone. We discuss our results in relation to the potential implementation of improved monitoring and/or attract-and-kill strategies for melon flies in Hawaii.

Last Modified: 12/27/2014
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