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Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Host Plants
Most, although not all, species of Tephritidae whose biologies are known are phytophagous. Host range varies considerably, often among closely related species (Norrbom & Kim 1988, Goeden 1992, 1993, 1994). Many species are strictly monophagous, for example, Bactrocera oleae, which breeds only in olives, but some pest species are remarkably polyphagous, for example, Ceratitis capitata, which has been reported from more than 300 hosts (Liquido et al. 1991). Probably the majority of Tephritidae, however, are oligophagous, breeding in a few related or ecologically and chemically similar hosts. Toxotrypana species, for example, breed in similar, latex-bearing, thick-skinned fruits of Caricaceae and Asclepiadaceae, two plant families that are not closely related (see Norrbom et al. 1999). Even many of the polyphagous pest species, although able to breed in many hosts, have preferences for certain plant families or genera (Hernández-Ortiz & Aluja 1994). Host races are known in Rhagoletis and possibly in Eurosta and Tephritis (see Berlocher 1999).
Although phytophagy is the predominant mode of feeding in the Tephritidae, the Tachiniscinae are all probably parasitoids (the only reared species is a moth parasitoid) and at least one adramine species (Euphranta toxoneura) is predaceous within galls. Saprophagy, which is predominant in the Platystomitidae and Otitidae, could be the primitive feeding habit for the Tephritidae. Some (probably most) Phytalmiini and Acanthonevrini are saprophagous, although many breed in damaged or recently dead tissues of limited ranges of plants. A few species have been reared from rotting fruit, decomposing tree trunks, or from under bark of live trees (Munro 1967, Hardy 1986, Dodson & Daniels 1988, Permkam & Hancock 1995). Some species of Acanthonevra breed in decaying bamboo shoots (Hancock & Drew 1995). Termitorioxa termitoxena has been reared from termite galleries in living trees (Hill 1921) as well as from under tree bark (Hancock 2002).
Although tephritids are commonly known as fruit flies, a variety of host parts and tissues are attacked, including fruits (pulp and/or seeds), flowers, stems, buds, leaves, and roots. In phytophagous species, females deposit eggs in healthy plant tissue, where the larvae feed, sometimes causing gall formation. Fruits and flowers (of diverse plant families) are the plant parts most commonly attacked, but many Trypetini are leaf or stem miners, and some Gastrozonina and Acanthonevrini breed in bamboo shoots (Hardy 1986, 1988, Hancock & Drew 1995). The members of the subfamily Tephritinae have specialized in attacking Asteraceae and a few other families (Acanthaceae, Goodeniaceae, Lamiaceae, Verbenaceae). They breed in the flower heads or form galls, although the type and stage of flower tissue attacked varies (Zwölfer 1988, Headrick & Goeden 1990), and galls of varying form and complexity may be produced on stems or roots, in flowers, or rarely on leaves (Freidberg 1984). The larva of species of Rachiptera and Strobelia secretes a liquid that forms a globular protective structure outside of its gall (Aljaro et al. 1984). Some species of Tephritis and Campiglossa misella have alternate gall-forming or stem-mining and flower-feeding generations (White 1988, Jenkins & Turner 1989, Goeden 1993), and Trupanea conjuncta is a faculative gall-former (Goeden 1987).
A few species that have life histories atypical for Tephritidae include: Two species of Parastenopa that mine galls of other insects (Aczél 1955); and Chetostoma stackelbergi and Euphranta toxoneura, which live in sawfly galls, at least in the case of E. toxoneura, as a predator of the sawfly larva (Kopelke 1984, 1985, Aartsen 1992). Congeners of E. toxoneura are phytophagous, so its mode of feeding is clearly secondary.
There is no comprehensive analysis of fruit fly host relationships. Freidberg (1984) reviewed the gall forming taxa, and Straw (1989) analyzed the relationship between feeding strategies and flower size in some Palearctic Tephritinae.
There is no worldwide list of tephritid host plants other than that of White & Elson-Harris (1992) for species of economic importance, although Ferrar (1987) provided a useful list of species and references. Liquido et al. (1991, 1998) listed and databased the reported hosts of Ceratitis capitata and Copeland et al. (2002) reported numerous additional hosts. De Meyer et al. (2002) listed the hosts of all Ceratitis species recorded from the Afrotropics. Norrbom & Kim (1988) provided a list of the hosts of Anastrepha, and Norrbom (2004) a database of the hosts of Anastrepha and Toxotrypana (data from the latter have been entered into the host plant database accessible from this site). Han (1998) listed the host plants of the Trypetini, and Smith & Bush (1999) those of the Carpomyina. On a regional basis, Wasbauer (1972) listed the hosts for the species of the Nearctic Region north of Mexico, and Foote et al. (1993) included most of the more recent records. For the Palearctic Region, the only comprehensive list, by Hendel (1927), is obsolete, but together the lists in Neuenschwander & Freidberg (1983, Crete), White (1988, British spp.), Merz (1994, Swiss spp.), and Freidberg & Kugler (1989, Israeli spp.) cover most of the western part of the region. There are no comprehensive host lists for the other zoogeographic regions. For the Afrotropical Region, the papers by Munro include numerous host data. Munro (1947) includes a host index for many Tephritinae, and Munro (1984) includes a host list for the Dacini of the region. For the Australasian Region, the hosts of the Dacini were listed by Drew (1989), those of the Phytalmiinae, Ceratitidini, and most other non-Dacine Trypetinae of Australia were listed by Permkam & Hancock (1995), and the most known hosts of the Tephritinae of Australia were included in Hardy & Drew (1996). For the Neotropical Region, host data for Rhagoletis, Anastrepha and Toxotrypana have been compiled (Foote 1981, Norrbom & Kim 1988, Norrbom, in press), and known host plants for the Brazilian and Chilean tephritid species were listed by Silva et al. (1968) and Frías (1992), respectively. For the Oriental Region, Kapoor (1993) listed the hosts of the Indian species, and Hardy (1973, 1974) provided host indices for the species of Thailand and the Philippines. Numerous additional records are scattered through the literature, although many require careful evaluation.
See the Fruit Fly Bibliography Database for full information for cited references.
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Content by Allen L. Norrbom. Last Updated: November 9, 2004.