Submitted to: Florida Entomologist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 10, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The ability to predict pest outbreaks is of great value to pest management programs. The effectiveness of control measures, such as pesticide sprays or the release of biocontrol agents, is greatly enhanced by timing the application to match the life cycle of the target pest. Predictions of pest populations are typically mathematical simulations based on factors such as weather, especially temperature. The present article reports the results of a study of developmental time in the life cycle of the Mexican fruit fly measured in the field against temperature. Temperature was found to be an important, but not the only factor, influencing developmental time in this insect.
Duration of the pre-imaginal stages of the Mexican fruit fly is strongly a function of season. The puparial stage may be prolonged up to three months in the winter or be as brief as three weeks in the summer. A degree-day accumulation model based on laboratory data (Leyva-Vasquez 1988) had a close fit with degree-day accumulations and puparial stage duration in the field. Larval developmental time was more variable, however, and there was not good agreement with the laboratory based degree-day model. An important factor was a tendency for the larvae to remain in the fruit beyond the necessary developmental time and for subsequent egression to be spread over a period of weeks. There was no evidence of a winter diapause.