Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 28, 2008
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Citation: Jenkins, D.A., Goenaga, R.J. 2008. Host status of litchi and rambutan to the West Indian fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae). Florida Entomologist. 91(2):228-231 Interpretive Summary: Puerto Rico’s tropical climate allows growers to cultivate a variety of exotic fruit crops. However, export of fruit to the U.S. mainland is limited due to the presence in Puerto Rico of the West Indian fruit fly, which may infest a number of fruit species. This fruit fly is present throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America, but only occasionally is found in Texas and California. The objective of this work was to demonstrate that litchi and rambutan, two exotic fruits with enormous potential, do not harbor larvae of the West Indian fruit fly in natural situations, nor are they suitable hosts when adult flies have no other choices. We collected 3732 ripe litchi fruit and 5534 ripe rambutan fruit and surveyed them for West Indian fruit fly larvae. We recovered no larvae from any of these fruit. In addition, we exposed both fruit to adult female West Indian fruit flies and were not able to recover any larvae from these fruit. Mangoes, a host for the West Indian fruit fly, when identically exposed to adult female flies, produced many larvae and adults. We conclude that the importation of litchi and rambutan fruits from the Puerto Rico to North America presents an extremely low likelihood of transporting West Indian fruit flies.
Technical Abstract: Fruit of litchi, (Litchi chinensis) and rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) were collected from the field in 2006 and 2007 and monitored for the emergence of West Indian fruit fly, Anastrepha obliqua. Fruit clusters of rambutan and litchi, with a piece of the peel removed to allow access to ovipositing females, were also placed in cages and exposed to 12 day post-eclosion male and female West Indian fruit flies for 48 hrs. These exposed fruit were then monitored for the emergence of A. obliqua. Mango fruit were simultaneously exposed to male and female A. obliqua in separate cages and monitored for the emergence of A. obliqua. Fruit fly traps baited with putrescine and ammonia acetate were placed in orchards of litchi and rambutan, as well as an adjacent orchard of carambola, Averrhoa carambola, to demonstrate the presence of fruit flies while litchi and rambutan were fruiting. Although we collected 3732 ripe litchi fruit (40.34 kg) and 5534 ripe rambutan fruit (166.60 kg) none of these yielded tephritid larvae. Litchi and rambutan fruit exposed to adult fruit flies in cages did not yield tephritid larvae, though similarly exposed mangoes did. We conclude that litchi and rambutan have an undetectably low probability of being infested by A. obliqua in Puerto Rico.