The native Hawaiian Ohelo berry as a potential host for the spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii)

Monday, April 4, 2016
Grand Ball Room Foyer (Pacific Beach Hotel)
Keena Newton , Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science, University of Hawai'i Hilo, Hilo, HI
Jonathan Koch , Department of Biology, University of Hawai'i Hilo, Hilo, HI
Donald Price , Department of Biology, University of Hawai'i, Hilo, HI
Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae) is an emerging economic pest of ripening soft fruits throughout the globe. It was first detected in the Wai'anae Mountains on O'ahu in 1983 and has now spread throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Unlike most Drosophila species, D. suzukii has a serrated ovipositor that allows it to lay eggs in ripening fruit. Though documented to use a diversity of wild and commercially grown fruits for oviposition, little is known about which native Hawaiian fruits may be vulnerable to D. suzukii. Using characteristics established in commercial hosts, we identified Vaccinium reticulatum (Ericaceae), Ohelo berry, as an endemic plant species susceptible to infestation. In this present study, we surveyed wild fruits along two elevation transects on Hawai'i Island. We have detected D. suzukii emergence from wild V. reticulatum and report on its relative abundance on the windward side of Hawai'i Island. Characterizing the geographic and host distribution of this alien insect is a necessary first step in determining its long-term effect on both native and non-native fruiting plants in Hawaii.
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