Natural Resources, School of


Annotated World Bibliography of Host Plants of the Melon Fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Grant T. McQuate, USDA-ARS
Nicanor J. Liquido, USDA-APHIS-PPQ
Kelly A. A. Nakamichi, North Carolina State University

Document Type Article

Published in 2017 by Center for Systematic Entomology, Inc. P. O. Box 141874 Gainesville, FL 32614-1874 USA

Copyright held by the author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons, Attribution Non-Commercial License


The melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera: Tephritidae), is a widespread, economically important tephritid fruit fly species. Bactrocera cucurbitae infests fruits and vegetables of a number of different plant species, with many host plants in the plant family Cucurbitaceae, but with additional hosts scattered across many other plant families. Although thought to be native to India, its distribution has spread throughout many countries in Oriental Asia, into a number of Pacific Island nations, and into Africa. The documented introductions into countries outside its native distribution show that this species could establish in other countries where it does not presently occur, particularly through the movement of infested fruit. As with other tephritid fruit fly species, establishment of B. cucurbitae can have signifi cant economic consequences, including damage and loss of food production, as well as requirements for implementation of costly quarantine treatments to permit export of commodities susceptible to infestation by B. cucurbitae and inspection of susceptible imported commodities. In order to avoid these adverse economic consequences, one needs to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of B. cucurbitae into a new habitat. To successfully achieve this, an accurate knowledge of the fly’s host plants is essential. Cognizant of this need, we prepared, and present here, a worldwide list of host plants for B. cucurbitae, with annotations on reported laboratory and field infestation data. Overall, 136 plant taxa from 62 plant genera and 30 plant families are identified as hosts of B. cucurbitae, based on reported field infestation data. The predominant family, as expected, is Cucurbitaceae, with 56 plant taxa (41.2% of all host plant taxa) in which fi eld infestation by B. cucurbitae has been documented. The family with the 2nd highest number of documented infested plant taxa is Solanaceae, for which there are published field infestation data for 20 plant taxa (14.7% of plant taxa for which there is documented field infestation). Papers that list plants as hosts of B. cucurbitae based only on laboratory data, those that list plants as a host but do not report any field infestation data, and those that report interception data add an additional 137 host plant taxa, representing a total of 80 genera and 39 plant families, 20 of which are additional plant families beyond those for which there is field infestation data. These additional species must be considered “undetermined” hosts for which additional data are needed to document actual host status. This paper is a comprehensive documentation of host plants of the melon fl y based on recorded infestations in laboratory and/or field, interceptions at ports of entry, or “listing only” associations. Host records presented here will be used in vetting and developing the official USDA list of host plants of the melon fly, which will be published by APHIS as a federal order.