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Host-Plant Variables Influencing the Spatial Distribution of a Frugivorous Fly, Rhagoletis indifferens
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
  • Frank J. Messina, Utah State University
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Previous foraging studies of individual Rhagoletis flies predict a positive relationship between the density of host fruits and probability of fruit infestation. This study examines how fruit density and other traits influence the distribution of Rhagoletis indifferens Curran larvae in an abandoned orchard. In 1986, when the level of fruit infestation was high, both the number of larvae/fruit and the percentage of fruits attacked were independent of fruit density at all spatial scales examined (among trees, within trees, or among fruit clusters). In 1987, when the level of fruit infestation was low and fruits were sampled throughout the season, the number of larvae/fruit was either independent of fruit density or, contrary to prediction, was inversely dependent on fruit density and tree size. In fruit-parasitic insects, as in many parasitoids, population-level responses to spatial variation in host density may be difficult to predict from analyses of individual behavior.

Citation Information
Messina, F.J. 1989. Host-plant variables influencing the spatial distribution of a frugivorous fly, Rhagoletis indifferens. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 50: 287-294.