• Allee effect;
  • Cauchy;
  • power distribution;
  • quarantine;
  • surveillance;
  • trapping

Abstract:  Data were obtained from mark recapture trials pertaining to the dispersal of medfly, Ceratitis capitata (Dipt., Tephritidae), over both short (10–160 m) and very long distances (0.5–9.5 km) within the surveillance trapping array in Adelaide, Australia. They could be related to previously reported data sets by expressing the capture rates of each set in common terms that corrected for differences in recapture rate resulting from type of trap, season or climate. The mean capture rate at each distance from the point of release in each data set was expressed as a percentage of the real or inferred rate of that set at a distance of 100 m. The resulting distribution of dispersal distances conformed to both an inverse power model and a modified Cauchy model regardless of whether the present and previous data were combined or not. The modified Cauchy model inferred that the median distance flown was extremely short and 90% of flies displaced only 400–700 m despite the fact that a consistent trend in declining catch rates was obtained up to 9.5 km. The spread of invading propagules in quarantined zones in the first generation is likely to be limited by a decline to non-viable density within 1 km or less of the incursion point and the spread of larger infestations could be limited by the longevity of the dispersers. The results also have significance to the ability of surveillance trapping arrays to detect infestations and also to methods of distributing insects for the ‘sterile insect technique’.