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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wapato, Washington » Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #268599

Title: Differences in body size and egg loads of Rhagoletis indifferens (Diptera: Tephritidae) from introduced and native cherries

item Yee, Wee
item GOUGHNOUR, ROBERT - Washington State University
item FEDER, JEFFREY - University Of Notre Dame

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/30/2011
Publication Date: 2/1/2012
Citation: Yee, W.L., Goughnour, R.B., Feder, J.L. 2012. Differences in body size and egg loads of Rhagoletis indifferens (Diptera: Tephritidae) from introduced and native cherries. Environmental Entomology. 40(6):1353-1362.

Interpretive Summary: The western cherry fruit fly damages sweet cherry fruit and is a major concern for cherry growers in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. Personnel at the USDA-ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory in Wapato, WA examined flies on sweet cherry and wild bitter cherry to determine if differences in body size and egg loads between them exist. It was found that flies from sweet cherry were larger and produced more eggs than flies from bitter cherry and that body size differences were caused by host fruit and not genetics. Sweet cherry is a superior host fruit to bitter cherry and colonization of feral sweet cherry trees by flies from bitter cherry trees could have increased population sizes of flies in the past and contributed to the fly’s negative impact on commercial cherry growers.

Technical Abstract: The western cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis indifferens Curran, infests introduced, domesticated sweet [Prunus avium (L.) L.] and tart cherries (Prunus cerasus L.) as well as native bitter cherry, Prunus emarginata (Douglas) Eaton. Bitter cherries are smaller than sweet and tart cherries and this could affect various life history traits of flies. The objectives of the current study were to determine (1) if body size and egg loads of flies infesting sweet, tart, and bitter cherries differ from one another, and (2) if any observed body size differences are genetically based or due to the host fruit environment. Pupae and adults of both sexes reared from larval-infested sweet and tart cherries collected in Washington and Montana were larger than those reared from bitter cherries. Flies of both sexes caught on field traps in sweet and tart cherry trees were also larger than those caught on bitter cherry trees. In addition, females trapped from sweet and tart cherry trees had 54.0 to 98.8% more eggs. The progeny of flies from naturally-infested sweet and bitter cherries reared for one generation in the laboratory on sweet cherry did not differ in size. The same was also true for progeny of sweet and bitter cherry flies reared in the field on bitter cherry. The results suggest that the larger body sizes of flies from sweet and tart cherries than bitter cherries in the field are caused by host fruit and not genetic factors.