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Keywords:

  • citrus utilisation;
  • Dacinae;
  • offspring survival;
  • oviposition preference;
  • Queensland fruit fly

Abstract

Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt), is a polyphagous pest, and many citrus types are included among its hosts. While quantification of citrus host use by B. tryoni is lacking, citrus is generally considered a ‘low pressure’ crop. This paper investigates B. tryoni female oviposition preference and offspring performance in five citrus types; Murcott mandarin (Citrus reticulata), Navel orange and Valencia orange (Citrus sinensis), Eureka lemon (Citrus limon) and yellow grapefruit (Citrus paradisi). Oviposition preference was investigated in laboratory-based choice and no-choice experiments, while immature survival and offspring performance were investigated by infesting fruits in the laboratory and evaluating pupal recovery, pupal emergence and F1 fecundity. Fruit size, Brix level and peel toughness were also measured for correlation with host use. Bactrocera tryoni demonstrated an oviposition preference hierarchy among the citrus fruits tested; Murcott and grapefruit were most preferred for oviposition and lemon the least, while preference for Navel and Valencia was intermediate. Peel toughness was negatively correlated with B. tryoni oviposition preference, while no significant correlations were detected between oviposition and Brix level or fruit size. Immature survival in the tested fruit was very low. Murcott was the best host (21% pupal recovery), while all other citrus types that showed pupal recovery of 6% or lower and no pupae were recovered from Valencia orange. In pupae recovered from Navel orange and lemon, adult eclosion was greatly reduced, while in grapefruit and lemon, no eggs were recovered from F1 adults. Based on these laboratory results, many commercial citrus varieties appear to be poor hosts for B. tryoni and may pose a low post-harvest and quarantine risk. These findings need to be confirmed in the field, as they impact on both pre-harvest and post-harvest countermeasures.