Zeugodacus cucurbitae

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Zeugodacus cucurbitae adult (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Zeugodacus cucurbitae (Coquillett, 1899) - (melon fly)

This fruit fly is found in tropical regions of Asia as well as in parts of Africa and the Pacific. It infests cucurbits, other vegetables and occasionally fruits like papaya. Fruit infestations of more than 50% have been reported. Since Z. cucurbitae has a larger host range, populations often persist between cropping seasons. In addition, the flies may also deposit eggs into the unopened flowers, and the larvae then develop in the stems and roots. The mature larvae leave the fruits and pupate in the soil. The development from egg to adult lasts 2-4 weeks, depending on the temperature. There are 8-10 generations per year.

For control, insecticide treated baits are sprayed on the vegetation in the vicinity of the crops. Removal and deep burying of infested fruits is also recommended. Covering the fruits to protect them from attacks is sometimes practised in gardens. For eradication and wide area management, the release of sterile male flies is being used. Several successful eradication campaigns have been conducted, e.g. it was eradicated from Japan in 1993. Quarantine is important to prevent the spread of Z. cucurbitae to uninfested areas.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: tropische Melonenfliege
• English: melon fly
• Español: mósca tropical del melón
• Français: mouche du melon

The adult is 6-8 mm long, brown with yellow marks on the thorax, e.g. there are a central and 2 curved lateral yellow stripes on the notum. The wing pattern is characterized by a broad brown band along the costal margin ending in an apical spot. There is another band from the wing base to the hind margin and an elongated mark in the apical half, adjacent to the hind margin. The abdomen is reddish brown with darker bands and stripes.

Synonyms:
Bactrocera cucurbitae
Dacus cucurbitae

For a review see Dhillon et al., 2005.