Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insights on invasive fly threatening US fruit crops

Date:
March 15, 2013
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Humans aren't the only species with a sweet tooth. Research shows that the invasive spotted-wing vinegar fly (Drosophila suzukii) also prefers sweet, soft fruit -- giving us new insight into a species that has spread across the United States over the past four years and threatens to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to US fruit crops.

Male and female Drosophila suzukii on a berry.
Credit: Hannah Burrack

Humans aren't the only species with a sweet tooth. Research from North Carolina State University shows that the invasive spotted-wing vinegar fly (Drosophila suzukii) also prefers sweet, soft fruit -- giving us new insight into a species that has spread across the United States over the past four years and threatens to cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to U.S. fruit crops.

Related Articles


"Because we know that D. suzukii prefers softer, sweeter fruit, we can focus our research efforts into which wild fruits may serve as reservoirs for this species and help identify new crops that might be at risk," says Dr. Hannah Burrack, an assistant professor of entomology at NC State and lead author of a paper on the research. "These findings may also be a starting point for plant breeders interested in developing new fruit varieties that are more resistant to D. suzukii."

Originally from east Asia, D. suzukii were first detected in California in 2008. They have since spread to states from Wisconsin to North Carolina to Florida. The female flies use serrated blades on the tip of their abdomens to cut through the skin of ripe fruit and lay their eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the flesh of the fruit until they reach maturity -- ruining the fruit in the process.

Sellers go to great pains to remove infested fruit before it reaches the marketplace, so consumers won't notice a difference in fruit quality. But infestations can cause significant economic problems for fruit growers. For example, researchers estimate that D. suzukii has the potential to destroy 40 percent of blackberry and raspberry crops in the eastern U.S., which would affect berry prices and availability.

D. suzukii already causes tens of millions of dollars in crop damage annually to cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. But researchers estimate that losses could climb into the hundreds of millions of dollars per year if the pest can't be controlled.

While ongoing studies explore pesticide-based approaches to control D. suzukii, the new research from NC State should help scientists and farmers with other control options.

For example, the study found that D. suzukii are more likely to infest certain varieties of raspberries and blackberries. This means growers may be able to limit crop damage by planting more of the varieties that D. suzukii tend to avoid. Similarly, this information allows farmers to focus pesticide treatment on varieties that are most susceptible to infestation.

The three-year study evaluated D. suzukii impacts in commercial blackberry and raspberry crops in North Carolina, and also encompassed laboratory experiments to help researchers determine which characteristics made fruits more likely to be infested. The work was supported by the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium, North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, North Carolina Department of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and North Carolina Blueberry Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hannah J Burrack, Gina E Fernandez, Taylor Spivey, Dylan A Kraus. Variation in selection and utilization of host crops in the field and laboratory byDrosophilasuzukiiMatsumara (Diptera: Drosophilidae), an invasive frugivore. Pest Management Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/ps.3489

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "New insights on invasive fly threatening US fruit crops." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315151041.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2013, March 15). New insights on invasive fly threatening US fruit crops. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315151041.htm
North Carolina State University. "New insights on invasive fly threatening US fruit crops." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315151041.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins