Pg. 29-31 Invasive fruit fly species in Africa and the possible threat to the subtropical fruit industry in South Africa

Fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) includes about 4 300 species in almost 500 genera. It is amongst the largest families of Diptera and one of the most economically important. Some of these species have become pests in areas far removed from their initial native range. The larvae of many species develop in the seed bearing organs of plants. Several species are known to attack different types of commercially grown crops, causing considerable damage. The female punctures the fruit with her ovipositor and deposits eggs within the host fruit. Larval development is completed within the fruit,
which as a result may become rotten. Larvae then drop to the soil to pupate. Losses are due to direct feeding damage and also to loss of export markets as a result of quarantine restrictions imposed by importing countries. In Africa there are approximately 950 known fruit fly species, which belong to 150 genera. Approximately 50 species in Africa are of economic importance. Most species which attack commercially grown fruit crops belong to two genera only, namely Ceratitis and Dacus. A few species belong to other genera, such as the coffee fruit flies (Trirhithrum spp.) which are close relatives of Ceratitis, or to the genus Bactrocera, which are close relatives of Dacus.

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