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Oviposition preference in the oligophagous tomato fruit fly, Neoceratitis cyanescens

Brévault T., Quilici S.. 2009. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 133 (2) : p. 165-173.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1570-7458.2009.00913.x

We assessed the role of visual and olfactory cues on oviposition preference in the oligophagous tomato fruit fly, Neoceratitis cyanescens (Bezzi) (Diptera: Tephritidae). In a field survey, we evaluated the stage of susceptibility of field-grown tomatoes by monitoring N. cyanescens infestations from fruit-setting up to harvest, in relation to post-flowering time, size, and visual properties of fruit. In two-choice laboratory experiments, we tested the degree to which females use visual and olfactory cues to select their host plant for oviposition. In addition, we investigated the ability of flies to avoid fruit already infested by conspecific eggs or larvae, and the influence of natal host fruit on oviposition preference. Neoceratitis cyanescens females preferentially lay their eggs in small yellow-green unripe fruit (2-3.5 cm diameter, 10-21 days post-flowering). Damage to fruit was significantly affected by brightness and size properties. In laboratory experiments, females chose to lay their eggs in bright orange rather than yellow domes. On the sole basis of olfactory stimuli, females showed a significant preference for unripe vs. ripe host fruit, for unripe fruit vs. flowers or leaves, and for host vs. non-host fruit (or control). However, colour interacted with odour as females dispatched their eggs equally between the yellow dome and the bright orange dome when unripe fruit of tomato was placed under the yellow dome vs. ripe fruit under the bright orange dome. When offered real ripe and unripe tomatoes, females preferred unripe tomatoes. Females significantly chose to lay eggs in non-infested fruit when they were given the choice between these or fruit infested with larvae. In contrast, recent stings containing eggs did not deter females from laying eggs. Rather, they could have an attractive effect when deposited within <1 h. Regardless of their natal host plant, tomato or bugweed, N. cyanescens females laid significantly more eggs in a dome containing bugweed fruit. However, 15% of females originating from tomato laid eggs exclusively in the dome with tomato, against 3% of females originating from bugweed.

Mots-clés : neoceratodus forsteri; solanum lycopersicum; réunion; france; mouche des fruits

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