Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 19, 2012
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The West Indian fruit fly is a major pest of mangos and tropical plums throughout Latin America. It is one of several invasive species that is commonly intercepted at our borders. In a study of genetic diversity from specimens collected throughout the range of the pest, a geographic pattern emerged. Specimens from South America were very similar to the population in Panama, but different from those elsewhere. Populations in eastern Mexico were related to populations on the islands of the Caribbean. The most striking finding was that the populations in western Mexico were very different from everywhere else. The degree of genetic difference was so great as to suggest that the population there could be a separate species that is difficult to distinguish by external characteristics. Such genetic differences provide a basis for determining the origin of the pests reaching our shores and thus identifying the pathways which must be monitored in order to protect American agriculture.
Anastrepha obliqua (Macquart) (Diptera: Tephritidae), the West Indian fruit fly, is a frugivorous pest that occasionally finds its way to commercial growing areas outside its native distribution. It inhabits areas in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, with occasional infestations having occurred in the southern tier states (CA, FL, and TX) of the United States. This fly is associated with many plant species and is a major pest of mango and plum. We examined the genetic diversity of the West Indian fruit fly based on mitochondrial COI and ND6 DNA sequences. Our analysis of 349 individuals from 54 geographic collections from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America detected 61 haplotypes that are structured into three phylogenetic clades. The distribution of these clades among populations is associated with geography. Six populations are identified in this analysis: Mesoamerica, C. America, Caribbean, western Mexico, Andean S. America, and eastern Brazil. In addition, substantial differences exist among these genetic types that warrant further taxonomic review.