A small survey of introduced Zaprionus indianus (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in orchards of the eastern United States




The African fig fly, Zaprionus indianus (Gupta), is a generalist fruit fly that typically breeds in decaying fruits from over 70 plant species. The species has spread globally from its native range in tropical Africa, becoming an invasive pest on ripening figs in Brazil. First reported in the United States in 2005 in Florida, Z. indianus has since been documented as far north as Canada and is hypothesized to recolonize northwards from southern refugia each year. We sampled drosophilid communities over the growing season at 2 orchards in Virginia from 2020 to 2022 and 11 orchards along the East Coast during the fall of 2022 to quantify the abundance of Z. indianus relative to other drosophilids across locations, seasons, and fruit crops. Massachusetts had the northernmost population, with no Z. indianus detected in Maine and no correlation between latitude and relative abundance. Variation in Z. indianus relative abundance was high between nearby orchards and abundance was higher on peaches relative to apples within orchards. Comparisons of seasonal abundance curves between 2 Virginia orchards showed similar dynamics across years with individuals first detected around July and becoming absent around December, with peaks in late summer and mid-fall. The variation in seasonal and latitudinal abundance shown here highlights a need for broader sampling to accurately characterize the range, spread, and environmental tolerances of Z. indianus in North America.

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