Himachal records new fruit fly speciestext_fields
Shimla: Researchers from the Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry in Nauni conducted survey studies for fruit flies in Himachal Pradesh, and on Wednesday they discovered a new species of fruit fly (Tephritidae) that had previously been mistaken for Bactrocera nigrofemoralis.
The finding was made by Maneesh Pal Singh while conducting doctoral research for his dissertation under the supervision of Divender Gupta, Professor and Head of the Department of Entomology.
After characterisation and consultation with UK-based fruit fly taxonomy expert David Lawrence Hancock, the species was characterized based on morphological characters as well as molecular analysis based on cytochrome oxidase and was named this species as Bactrocera divenderi.
Gupta said earlier that this species was confused with Bactrocera nigrofemoralis. Maneesh Pal Singh during his research described it as a new species i.e. B. divenderi separating it from B. nigrofemoralis, mainly on the characters present on the thorax and genitalia along with molecular characterisation.
This species is mainly prevalent in mid hills -- parts of Solan, Sirmaur, Mandi, Shimla and Kangra districts -- of the state, infesting peaches and nectarines, IANS reported.
Higher diversity of fruit flies existed in the state in comparison to other north Indian states as revealed from the findings of the research work carried out by Singh. The research findings on this aspect have been published in the July issue of the 'Zootaxa' Journal published from New Zealand.
The type specimens of the same have been deposited at the High Altitude Regional Centre of Zoological Survey of India in Solan for reference records.
According to Gupta, the fruit flies as a group are pests of international importance and quarantine significance.
These are direct pests and cause damage to a number of fruits like peaches, guava, mango and vegetables, mainly cucurbits. They adapt to new environments and keep on increasing the host range.
Recently, kiwi has been recorded as a new host for fruit flies from Himachal Pradesh.
University Vice Chancellor Rajeshwar Singh Chandel said the detailed work on this species will help to devise formal management programmes against this species infecting peaches and nectarines.