Rhagoletis indifferens

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Rhagoletis indifferens (click on image to enlarge it)
Author: Stephen Hart
Source: BugGuide

Rhagoletis indifferens Curran, 1932 - (western cherry fruit fly)

The fruit fly is found in western North America from southern British Columbia to southern California. It can cause dramatic losses in cherry orchards. The female lays eggs inside the cherry fruit where the larvae develop, making the fruits unmarketable. There are often few external signs of the infestation and finding a few infested fruits will result in the rejection of the whole crop.

Rhagoletis indifferens forewing (click on image to enlarge it)
Author: Stephen Hart
Source: BugGuide

The larvae complete their development in about 2-3 weeks. The mature larvae leave the fruits and pupate in the soil where the pupae go into diapause and overwinter. The young adults will emerge the coming year over a period of several months, usually starting in late spring or early summer. They typically fly only short distances if cherry fruits are available in the vicinity. Dispersal via transport of infested cherry fruits is a major quarantine concern because the pest is still absent from most cherry-growing regions. It has been reported from southern Switzerland in the 1980s but did not reached pest status there.

Traps or red spheres coated with a sticky substance are used for monitoring. Control relies mainly on the use of protective insecticide sprays during the egg-laying period. Insecticide treated baits which can be applied by spraying have been also developed. Further, fabrics laid out under the trees can be used to prevent the larvae from burying into the ground for pupation.

Vernacular names
• English: western cherry fruit fly
• Español: mosca occidental de cereza
• Français: mouche des cerises

R. indifferens adults can be distinguished from related species by the pattern of black bands on the wing:
the band starting from the subapical cross band at the costa and running along the costal margin to the wing tip leaves a short and narrow clear stripe along the front margin,
an additional band emerges from this apical costal band and also runs to the wing tip ending closer to the hind margin.
However, R. indifferens is very closely related to Rhagoletis cingulata which also attacks cherry and both species can be easily confused.