Anastrepha ludens

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Anastrepha ludens (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Anastrepha ludens (Loew, 1873) - (Mexican fruit fly)

The fruit fly is an important constraint to fruit (e.g. citrus or mango) and vegetable (e.g. pepper) production and export in Central America. Yield losses can reach 30%. While it is native from Costa Rica to many parts of Mexico, it is invasive in the western coast of Mexico and the southern U.S.A. In the invaded areas, continuous monitoring activities are on-going and several eradication campaigns have been conducted.

Fruits are attacked when they are almost mature. Females insert around 10 eggs into the fruits with their long ovipositor. The egg stage lasts 1-2 weeks and the larval stages 3-4 weeks. Mature larvae leave the fruit, which may already have fallen to the ground, and pupate in the soil. The are 2-3 generations per year and the pupae might overwinter.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: mexikanische Fruchtfliege
• English: Mexican fruit fly
Mexfly
• Español: mosca Mexicana de la fruta
• Français: mouche mexicaine des fruits

Control involves the use of insecticide-treated baits, applied in traps or as spray. Orchards at risk of invading fruit flies can be protected by placing traps around the perimeter. For eradication and for maintaining areas free of the fruit fly, large numbers of sterile male flies are released. Quarantine treatments of export fruits include hot air treatments or exposure to low temperatures (0.5-1.5°C) for 3 weeks. The treatments may be combine with high pressure.

The adult is 8-10 mm long and yellowish-brown. Diagnostic characters include the long ovipositor of the female (3½-4½ mm), colour patterns on the wing and pronotum and the structure of the ovipositor (see images below). For a taxonomical description of this species see Norrbom et al. (USDA).