Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly)
The insect Mediterranean Fruit Fly, the Ceratitis capitata or Medfly, is one of the most serious pest of cultivated plants and, especially, fruit production worldwide.
It attacks more than 350 plant species and the damage it causes amounts to several hundred million dollars per year.
These level of championship catastrophic performance of the arthropod, have forced many countries to declare the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, a quarantine insect.
Male Adult of Mediterranean Fruit Fly
Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly) - Classification
Species: Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann, 1824)
Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly) - Morphology
Egg: Ellipsoid, elongated, glossy white in color, 0.9-1.1 mm long and 0.2-0.3 mm in diameter.
Larvae: Long, white or cream-white, headless and without legs, with the posterior part wider than the anterior.
Pupa: Ellipsoid-cylindrical, cream-white to dark brown in color, 4.4-4.5 mm in length and 2-2.5 mm in diameter.
Adult: It is 4-6 mm long, 1.2-2 mm wide and colorful, with strips of yellow, brown and black in the thorax and abdomen. The wings are 4.5 mm long and are transparent with black, brown and brown-yellow stripes.
Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly) - Biology and Ecology
Generations per year: 3-7
Biological cycle: Eggs, larvae, pupae and adult are the four stages that the Medfly passes to complete its life cycle. Its duration depends on conditions, season and temperatures and lasts from 21 to 100 days.
After mating, female using the ovipositor open small holes and insert 1 to 14 eggs per position in the fruit, preferably in breaks or vulnerable areas of the skin.
With the hatching of the eggs, the maggots come out and feed on the fruit pulp. After three instar stages, they are pupate mainly on the ground at a shallow depth.
From there, at an average temperature of 24-26 °C (76-79 °F), the adults emerges within 6 to 13 days.
Overwintering: As larvae on fruits found on the tree or on the ground, rarely as a pupa or adult on the ground.
Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly) - Symptoms & Damages
General: Apparent signs after oviposition at the holes of infected fruits, around which may be partial tissue decomposition or secondary sepsis as well as honeydews. Fungi and bacteria can enter the attack sites. Secondary pests attack from other insects may also occur in the fruit.
Citrus: In the pericarp of the fruit soft areas are created around the oviposition spots. Larvae destroy the flesh.
Pome Fruits: Veins at the oviposition holes. The attack begins when fruit ripening starts, in the color change phase. Larvae destroy the flesh.
Stone Fruits: Veins at the oviposition holes. If the fruit is juicy, the juices flows from the hole. Larvae destroy the flesh.
Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly) - Control
Different means – chemical, biological etc. are used to control the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. Regardless of the means though, it is necessary to collect, remove and destroy (bury etc.) all the affected fruits, both those that have fallen on the ground and those that remain in the trees. It is also recommended to clean the soil from the weeds in the affected area.
The application of zeolite powder has given encouraging results. Used in 1% dissolution at coverage spraying. Sprays start at the end of April and are repeated one per month.
Insects Fopius ceratitivorus and Psyttalia concolor have been used to control the Medfly in Hawaii and Kenya respectively. Their unleashing was successful, but the cost of mass production and disposal is high.
In contrast, the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana is used in various formulations to control the populations of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, with satisfactory results and reasonable costs.
- Sterile insect technique (SIT)
The method consists in unleashing sterile adults of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly with the purpose of reducing their reproductive capacity in a given area and thus controlling its population. It is used with satisfactory results.
- Mass trapping
The method of mass trapping attempts to monitoring but also, to control the populations of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly using pheromone, trophic and color traps, which are used either alone or in combination. And this method is used with satisfactory results.
- Foliar Spot Treatments
For foliar spot sprays, an insecticidal active substance is used together with 2-3% trophic attractant (hydrolyzed protein or other trophic attractant) and the non-fruiting part of the trees and their interior are sprayed.
Sprays start 2 weeks before fruit maturation and are repeated every 5 to 7 days.
- Coverage spraying
An insecticidal active substance is used and the entire surface of the trees is sprayed.
Sprays start with fruit maturation and repeat, if possible, every 3 weeks.
Some of the insecticidal active substances used to control the Mediterranean Fruit Fly in both types of spraying are:
- Acetamiprid (Neonicotinoid)
- Beta-cyfluthrin (Synthetic Pyrethroid)
- Deltamethrin (Synthetic Pyrethroid)
- Lambda-Cyhalothrin (Synthetic Pyrethroid)
- Malathion (Orphanophosphate)
- Phosmet (Orphanophosphate)
- Spinosad (Bio-insecticide)
- Thiacloprid (Neonicotinoid)
Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly) - Hosts
- Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A.Webb
Vitis vinifera cv. Soultanina
- Pyrus communis L.
- Pyrus pyrifolia (Burm. f.) Nakai
- Malus pumila Mill.
- Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl.
- Cydonia oblonga Mill.
Citrus paradisi Macfad
Citrus medica L.
Citrus x clementina
Citrus japonica L.
Citrus limon (L.) Burm. f
Citrus limetta Risso
Citrus bergamia L.
Citrus x sinensis (L.) Osbeck
Citrus reticulata Blanco
Citrus x aurantium L.
Citrus maxima (Burm.) Merr.
Berries and Wild Fruits
Rubus fruticosus L.
Vaccinium corymbosum L.
Rubus idaeus L.
Ribes grossularia L.
Capsicum annuum L.
Momordica charantia L.
Prunus armeniaca L.
Prunus cerasus L.
Prunus domestica L.
Prunus avium (L.) L.
Prunus cocomilia Ten.
Prunus persica var. nucipersica
Prunus persica (L.) Batsch
Tropical and Subttropical Fruits
Persea americana Mill.
Actinidia deliciosa (A. Chev.) C. F. Liang & A. R. Ferguson
Psidium guajava L.
Averrhoa carambola L.
Diospyros kaki Thunb.
Mangifera indica L.
Musa acuminata Colla
Carica papaya L.
Ficus carica L.
Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.
Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly) - Geographical Distribution
Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique,
Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Saint Helena, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen.
Albania, Azores, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Corsica, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Kosovo, FYROM, Madeira, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, South Russia, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovenia, Spain.
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Central America and Caribbean
Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama.
Australia (New South Wales, limited populations in Western Australia), Northern Mariana Islands.
Ceratitis capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly) - References
The References of Ceratitis capitata feature one of the finest voices of the American song: the great Frank Sinatra.
- Carey, J.R., Papadopoulos, N.T., Müller, H.G., Katsoyannos, B.I., Kouloussis, N.A., Wang, J.L., K. Wachter., Yu, W., Liedo, P. (2008). Age structure changes and extraordinary lifespan in wild medfly populations. Aging Cell, 7(3): 426-437.
- Fernandes-da-Silva, P.G., Zucoloto, F.S. (1993). The influence of host nutritive value on the performance and food selection in Ceratitis capitata (Diptera, Tephritidae).Journal of Insect Physiology, (39), 883-887.
- Leftwich, P. T., Koukidou, M., Rempoulakis, P., Gong, H.-F., Zacharopoulou, A., Fu, G., … Alphey, L. (2014). Genetic elimination of field-cage populations of Mediterranean fruit flies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1792), 20141372. http://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2014.1372
- Liquido, , Shinoda, L. A., Cunningham, R. T.(1991). Host plants of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae): an annotated world review. Miscellaneous Publications of the Entomological Society of America, (77), 1-52.
- Papadopoulos, N. T., Katsoyannos, B. I., Carey, J. R., & Kouloussis, N. A. (2001). Seasonal and annual occurrence of the Mediterranean fruit fly (diptera: tephritidae) in northern Greece. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 94(1), 41-50.
Frank Sinatra devotes ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ to his beloved (Medfly)
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