Invasive Species: Mexican Fruit Fly Essay

Ivan Chavez B1 Invasive Species: The Mexican Fruit fly An invasive species is a species that does not naturally take place in a particular area and with its arrival brings economic, environmental or human harm (1). Recently there has been a bigger emphasis on invasive species (1). They are threatening our agriculture and forests and causing major impacts to our cities (1). The characteristics that make the species thrive in their environment vary with each.

Their characteristics in general can be the lack of predators they have, their fast growing and their ability to alter soil and habitat conditions to better suit their own survival (2). Of the many invasive species there are to talk about, the one focused on will be the Mexican fruit fly. The Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens, is characterized by its yellow to brown body and wing coloration (3). ( Refer to the picture in the left (10)) An adult fruit fly is 7-11 mm long and is a bit larger than a house fly (3). An adult fly may live up to 11 months and can lay more than 1,500 eggs in its life.

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It’s a serious pest The Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens, is characterized by its yellow to brown body and wing coloration (3). ( Refer to the picture in the left (10)) An adult fruit fly is 7-11 mm long and is a bit larger than a house fly (3). An adult fly may live up to 11 months and can lay more than 1,500 eggs in its life. It’s a serious pest 1,500 eggs in its life (3). It’s a serious pest to many fruits in Mexico and central America, where its native to (4). It frequently invades Texas, southern California, Arizona, and Florida by the importing of fruits to these areas (3).

In 1927, it was first discovered infesting the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and by early 1950s they were found within the California-Mexico Border (4). The Mexican fruit fly is considered to be invasive due to the fact that its transported from Central America and shipped to the U. S infesting and spoiling a variety of fruits (7). Along with living in a new environment it causes them to eventually spread to other parts of the world throughout shipment of fruits in crates. The damage they have done is they have caused Mexico 25% in losses (5) and has caused millions of dollars in support of controlling these pests (6).

It has also made it unfit for export for many foreign countries (7). The Mexican fruit fly has made fruit trees and plants die off (7), reducing certain types of fruits and plants to be grown in specific areas (7). Which contribute to the loss of biodiversity, large variation in fruit has been lost. The loss of the trees and plants have left other insects with no food or habitat leaving them to die and cause small shifts in the ecosystem. There are many treatments being used to control the Mexican fruit fly population. The three kinds of treatments used are bait spray, the sterile insect technique and/or directed insecticide applications (8).

The bait spray treatment is done by using airplanes and ground sprayers (8). Program workers apply bait spray approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency (8). The spray is applied to fruit trees and it attracts the flies to it and they die off (9). The sterile insect technique is where large numbers of male sterile insects are released into areas where they mate with other flies (9). Such mating doesn’t produce offspring and eventually the population is eliminated through attrition (9). Direct insecticide applications is where program employees apply insecticide on the soil under host trees or plants (9).

These products kill larvae as they enter the soil to pupate and most of the adults as they later emerge (9). Agriculture quarantine laws have also take place so returning travelers are prohibited from bringing fresh fruits, meats, plants, birds and animal products which may harbor pests (9). In all, what has been taught about the Mexican fruit fly, as small as it can be, can cost us a lot in terms of economic and ecological aspects. It has cost farmers and regulation agencies a fortune to try to get this pest under control. Its way of spreading is hard to stop due to the ever growing world of ours where trading must continue.

Its ability to multiply in large numbers makes it even harder to take hold of it. Infesting our fruits and plants has also given rise to problems within our ecosystem. Biodiversity has been affected negatively with the destruction of certain trees and plants. Not just plants have suffered but also other insects that have habitats within them. The Mexican fruit fly is not as nice as it sounds. References 1. http://www. invasivespecies. org/resources/defineis. html 2. http://www. eddmaps. org/ipane/volunteers/training_materials/IPANEtraining_Manual. pdf 3. http://entnemdept. ufl. du/creatures/fruit/tropical/mexican_fruit_fly. htm 4. http://www. cdfa. ca. gov/plant/pdep/target_pest_disease_profiles/mexican_ff_profile. html 5. http://www. freshfromflorida. com/pi/pest-alerts/anastrepha-ludens. html 6. http://scholarspace. manoa. hawaii. edu/bitstream/handle/10125/1297/20_jang_117-120. pdf? sequence=1 7. https://biologyinvasivespeciesproject. wikispaces. com/Mexican+Fruit+Fly 8. http://www. hungrypests. com/faqs/mexican-fruit-fly. php 9. http://www. invasive. org/publications/aphis/fsmexfly. pdf 10. http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/File:Female_Mexican_fruit_fly. jpg

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