• Ceratitis capitata;
  • Diptera;
  • Tephritidae;
  • fruit flies;
  • host selection;
  • chemical stimuli;
  • citrus


Responses of Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) adults to chemicals from citrus fruits were quantified in choice tests conducted in large field cages housing naturally planted orange trees, on the Greek island of Chios. Both sexes responded strongly to chemicals released from artificial cuts made in the pulp of peeled oranges and also to natural or commercial orange juice applied to the surface of yellow 7.0 cm diameter spheres. Males also responded strongly to chemicals released from cuts made in the oily region of the orange peel, or flavedo and less to sour orange and lemon. In contrast, females did not respond to flavedo chemicals. Male response to peel chemicals occurred throughout the day and increased as the number of cuts per fruit increased from 2 to 8. Contact of male mouthparts with sap from cuts, and mating attempts between males on or near the cuts were frequently observed. The males also responded to commercial essential orange oils applied to yellow spheres, but less to essential mandarin oils. The role of citrus chemicals in host finding behaviour of C. capitata and their potential use for the development of effective traps for monitoring and controlling the fly are discussed. The experimental method followed in this study can be used as a standard technique for evaluation of the quality of flies to be used in sterile insect technique programmes.