Of the fifteen (15) pest species of Anastrepha present in the neotropics, the Caribbean Fruit fly – Anastrepha suspensa (Loew) – also known as Caribfly poses the most imminent threat of invading the islands of the Caribbean region because of its limited distribution, the potential damage it can do to crops that form the core of our production and exports and its potential unregulated movement in trade.
The adult female Caribbean Fruit fly lays eggs in several fruits for which the Caribbean is well known and which we export regionally and extra regionally. Fruits affected include Mango (Mangifera indica); many Annonas (Annona spp), Spondias spp., Papaya (Carica papaya), Avocado, (Persea americana), West Indian Cherry (Malpighia punicifolia (glabra), Guava (Psidium guajava), many Citrus species, Coffee, Tomato and Sapote.
Fruits in which eggs are laid decompose from the actions of the larvae developing from eggs in the fruit and from secondary infection. Without timely treatment affected fruits cannot be eaten or traded. Attacked fruit can show signs of oviposition punctures, but these, or any other symptoms of damage, are often dificult to detect in the early stages of infestation. Much damage may occur inside the fruit before external symptoms are seen, often as networks of tunnels accompanied by rotting.
The Caribbean fruit fly is at present limited to the islands of the Lesser Antilles, including the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and their northern neighbor the state of Florida in the US. The pest is not present in the Lesser Antilles.
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