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Zonosemata vittigera (Coquillett)

Zonosemata vittigera, female habitus, drawing (74354 bytes)
Dorsal habitus, female.

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This species, like other Zonosemata species, is mostly yellow with a few dark brown markings on the thorax and abdomen. The scutum has three white stripes, including a medial one, and presutural and postsutural dark brown markings. The wing is mostly hyaline with 5 transverse bands in a "spider-mimic" pattern (see Biology).

Zonosemata vittigera differs from the other species of Zonosemata, except Z. vidrapennis and Z. macgregori, by having most of cells r4+5 and dm without microtrichia between the discal and subapical bands. It differs from Z. vidrapennis in having broader wing bands (particularly the apical band) and a presutural sublateral dark brown spot on the scutum. It always has a dark brown spot on the katepisternum (variable in Z. vidrapennis). It differs from Z. macgregori in having a narrower apical band (cell r2+3 with a large hyaline spot between the apical band and vein R4+5). The submedial stripe on the scutum is usually orange anterior to the transverse suture, whereas in Z. macgregori it is usually dark brown, but there is overlap in this character in these two species (of 53 specimens from Mexico examined by Norrbom (2002), 16 (2 of 5 from Chihuahua, 2 of 7 from Coahuila, and 3 of 8 from Durango, 11 of 31 from Zacatecas) have the submedial stripes at least partially red-brown to dark brown anterior to the transverse suture).

Phillips (1946, as Zonosemata sp.) and Steyskal (1975) described the third stage larva.

Classification and Evolutionary Relationships
Order: Diptera. Family: Tephritidae. Subfamily: Trypetinae. Genus: Zonosemata. Species: vittigera. Author: Coquillett.
Relationships among the species of Zonosemata have not been analyzed. Zonosemata vittigera is probably most closely related to Zonosemata macgregori Hernández-Ortiz, which it closely resembles.

Names Used for this Species
Zonosema vittigera Coquillett 1899: 261.
Spilographa vittigera: Aldrich 1905: 604.
Zonosemata vittigera: Benjamin 1934: 19.
Trypeta electa Cockerell 1898: 155. [misidentification]
Zonosemata variegata Aczél 1954: 162 (nomen nudum). Synonymy (Bush 1965: 317).
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Type data
Lectotype - Male (National Museum of Natural History (USNM)), designated by Bush 1966: 315, USA: Texas: Eagle Pass, J. Cram.

Zonosemata vittigera is native to Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guanajuato, Michoacán, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas; Distrito Federal?) and the southwestern United States (southeastern Arizona to Oklahoma and Texas). It was introduced to southeastern California during the 1960s (Goeden & Ricker 1971). In Mexico, Z. vittigera occurs at least as far south as Guanajuato (Bush 1966). The record from Distrito Federal (Foote 1967) may be an error based on the statement by Bush (1966: 318) that Z. vittigera "ranges from just north of Mexico, D.F."
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Like other species of Zonosemata, Z. vittigera breeds in fruits of species of Solanaceae. Its only known host plant is Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav., silver-leaf nightshade. Cazier (1962) and Goeden & Ricker (1971) studied various aspects of its life history and biology. Greene et al. (1987) and Whitman et al. (1988) showed that Z. vittigera mimics jumping spiders and is significantly protected from these common predators on its host plant. During the fly's wing flicking displays, its wing pattern resembles the legs and the abdominal spots the eyes of a spider in its own territorial display.
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Economic Significance
Zonosemata vittigera is not considered a pest species. Its host plant, Solanum elaeagnifolium, is sometimes an agricultural weed, but Z. vittigera is not an effective control agent of the plant because it causes no appreciable seed damage within the fruit (Goeden & Ricker 1971).

Key references are listed below. See fruit fly literature database for additional references.
Aldrich, J. M. 1905. A catalog of North American Diptera (or two-winged flies). Smithson. Misc. Collect. 46(2): 680 p. [p. 604, in catalog]
Benjamin, F. H. 1934. Descriptions of some native trypetid flies with notes on their habits. U.S. Dep. Agric. Tech. Bull. 401: 95 p. [p.   , taxonomy]
Bush, G. L. 1966. The genus Zonosemata, with notes on the cytology of two species. Psyche (Cambridge) (1965) 72: 307-323.
Cazier, M. A. 1962. Notes on the bionomics of Zonosemata vittigera (Coquillett), a fruit fly on Solanum (Diptera: Tephritidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 38: 181-186. [biology]
Coquillett, D. W. 1899. Notes and descriptions of Trypetidae. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 7: 259-268. [description]
Foote, R. H. 1965. Family Tephritidae, p. 658-678. In A. Stone, C. W. Sabrosky, W. W. Wirth, R. H. Foote & J. R. Coulson, eds., A catalog of the Diptera of America north of Mexico. U.S. Dep. Agric. Agric. Handb. 276: 1696 p. [p.   , in catalog]
Foote, R. H., F. L. Blanc & A. L. Norrbom. 1993. Handbook of the fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) of America north of Mexico. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca. xii + 571 p. [p. 496, USA, references]
Goeden, R. D. and D. W. Ricker. 1971. Biology of Zonosemata vittigera relative to silver-leaf nightshade. Journal of Economic Entomology 64: 417-421. [biology]
Greene, E., L. J. Orsak & D. W. Whitman. 1987. A tephritid fly mimics the territorial display of its jumping spider predators. Science 236: 310-312. [biology]
Hernández-Ortiz, V. 1989. Una especie nueva de Zonosemata (Díptera: Tephritidae) y clave de identificación de las especies del género. Anales del Instituto de Biologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Serie Zoologia 60: 205-210. [p. 207, in key]
Norrbom, A. L. 1990. Notes on Zonosemata Benjamin (Diptera: Tephritidae) and the status of Cryptodacus scutellatus Hendel (= Z. ica Steyskal syn. n.). Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien 91: 53-55.
Norrbom, A. L. 2002. A new species and key for the genus Zonosemata Benjamin (Diptera: Tephritidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 104: 614-623. [p. 621, in key, taxonomy]
Norrbom, A. L., L. E. Carroll, F. C. Thompson, I. M. White & A. Freidberg. 1999. Systematic database of names, pp. 65-251. In F. C. Thompson (ed.), Fruit Fly Expert Identification System and Systematic Information Database. Myia 9, vii + 524 pp. & Diptera Data Dissemination Disk (CD-ROM) (1998) 1. [p. 249, in catalog]
Steyskal, G. C. 1975. Recognition characters for larvae of the genus Zonosemata (Diptera, Tephritidae). U. S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative Economic Insect Report 25 (12): 231-232. [larva]
Wasbauer, M. S. 1972. An annotated host catalog of the fruit flies of America north of Mexico (Diptera: Tephritidae). Occas. Pap. Calif. Dep. Agric. Bur. Entomol. 19: [i] + 172 p. [p.   , host]
Whitman, D. W., L. J. Orsak & E. Greene. 1988. Spider mimicry in fruit flies: further experiments on the deterence of jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae) by Zonosemata vittigera (Coquillett). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 81, 532-536. [biology]

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Content by Allen L. Norrbom. Last Updated: January 25, 2003.