Submitted to: Journal of Insect Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/23/2017
Publication Date: 11/14/2017
Citation: Rice, K.B., Jones, S.K., Morrison III, W.R., Leskey, T.C. 2017. Spotted wing drosophila prefer low hanging fruit: insights into foraging behavior and management strategies. Journal of Insect Behavior. 30(6):645-661. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10905-017-9646-9.
Interpretive Summary: Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is an invasive insect that causes severe economic damage to small fruit such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Currently, no efficient monitoring system exists for commercial growers and weekly insecticide applications are used to combat this pest, potentially resulting in non-target negative effects on pollinators and predators. In order to improve monitoring and management strategies, we examine SWD foraging behavior in a highly preferred host plant, raspberry, in caged studies and in the field. We found that adults strongly prefer to land on and lay eggs in raspberry fruit located in the lower portion of plants. Additionally, we found that adults enter agricultural fields at the edges of crop. These findings can aid in the improvement of monitoring, trapping, and management tactics for this invasive pest.
Technical Abstract: Spotted wing drosophila (SWD), Drosophila suzukii, is an invasive insect that attacks ripe, small fruit such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Little is known about SWD foraging ecology, and current trapping and monitoring systems are ineffective at commercial scales. In caged foraging arenas, we evaluated SWD alightment and ovipositional preference within and among raspberry plants using sentinel fruit positioned within the exterior and interior plant canopy at different heights. Adults showed a strong preference for fruit lower positioned at lower heights and interior locations. Likewise in mark-release-recapture studies, SWD preferred lower positioned fruit on exterior rows. In field trials with wild fly populations, SWD infestations were greater in edge rows compared with interior rows. Collectively, our results suggest that monitoring and behaviorally-based management strategies may be more effective if populations in the lower canopy of plants are located on the crop perimeter.