• Supakorn Karnjanaungkool
  • Duangta Julsirikul Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Burapha University, Chonburi



Pumpkin fruit fly, Host-plant, Host preference, Cucurbitaceae


The pumpkin fruit fly (Zeugodacus tau) is an important agricultural pest in many regions of the world. It has more than 91 economic host-plant species, particularly in the family Cucurbitaceae. The infestation of this fruit fly species has caused damage to quality and quantity of agricultural products. The host preference of the pumpkin fruit fly with choice and no choice tests using cucumber, pumpkin and bitter gourd as host-plants were performed under laboratory conditions. The results demonstrated that the number of pupae and adult pumpkin fruit fly found in the three cucurbit host-plants were significantly different (P < 0.05). The highest number of pupae and emerged adults for the choice test were found in pumpkin, followed by cucumber and bitter gourd, respectively. For the no choice test, the highest number of pupae and emerged adults were observed in cucumber, followed by pumpkin and bitter gourd, respectively. The host preference of the pumpkin fruit fly in this study indicated that female fruit flies use vision and olfactory cues to locate the host-plant. They were attracted by cucumber odor and yellow color of pumpkin. In addition, the nutrient compositions of the host-plant also affect fruit fly performance. Tephritid fruit flies preferred host with high concentration of water, carbohydrate and fat. In conclusion, the study on host preference of the pumpkin fruit fly revealed factors affecting host-plant selection that can be used as information for pest management for the imported and exported cucurbit products.


Awmack C, Leather S. Host plant quality and fecundity in herbivorous insects. Annual Review of Entomology 2002;47(1):817-444.

Aluja M, Mangan RL. Fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) host status determination: critical conceptual, methodological, and regulatory considerations. Annual Review of Entomology 2008;53(1):473-502.

Baimai V, Phinchongsakuldit J, Samrandee C, Tigvattananont S. Cytological evidence for a complex of species within the taxon Bactrocera tau (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Thailand. Biological Journal of Linnean Society 2000;69(3):399-409.

Bernays EA, Chapman RF. Host-Plant Selection by Phytophagous Insects. New York: Chapman & Hall; 1994.

Boopathi T, Singh B, Manju T, Chowdhury S, Singh AR, Dutta SK, et al. First report of economic injury to tomato due to Zeugodacus tau (Diptera: Tephritidae): relative abundance and effects of cultivar and season on injury. Florida Entomologist 2017;100(1):63-69.

Devi KY, Ibrahim MM, Mehta PK. Laboratory evaluation of some indigenous raw material for development of bait application technique (BAT) against fruit fly species, Bactrocera tau (Walker). Plant Archives 2020;20(2):1323-1328.

Dhiman A, Sharma K, Attri S. Functional constituents and processing of pumpkin: a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology 2009;46(5):411-417.

DOA. Economic vegetable of Thailand. Bangkok: Department of Agriculture; 2013.

EFSA Panel on Plant Health. Pest categorisation of non-EU Tephritidae. EFSA Journal 2020;18(1):5931.

Hafsi A, Facon B, Ravigné V, Chiroleu F, Quilici S, Chermiti B, et al. Host plant range of a fruit fly community (Diptera: Tephritidae): does fruit composition influence larval performance?. BMC Ecology 2016.

Huang Y, Gu X, Peng X. Tao M, Chen G, Zhang X. Effect of short-term high-temperatures on the growth, development and reproduction in the fruit fly, Bactrocera tau (Diptera: Tephritidae). Scientific Reports 2020;10:6418.

Jaleel W, Lu L, He Y. Biology, taxonomy, and IPM strategies of Bactrocera tau Walker and complex species (Diptera; Tephritidae) in Asia: A comprehensive review. Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 2018;25(20):19346-19361.

Kennedy GG, Storer NP. Life systems of polyphagous arthropod pests in temporally unstable cropping systems. Annual Review of Entomology 2000;45:467-493.

Khan M, Tahir R, Howlader AJ. Comparative host susceptibility, oviposition, and colour preference of two polyphagous tephritids: Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coq.) and Bactrocera tau (Walker). Research Journal of Agriculture and Biological Sciences 2011;7(3):343-349.

Kitthawee S, Julsirikul D. Population genetic structure of Zeugodacus tau species complex in Thailand. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 2019;21(3):265-275.

Li L, Ma H, Niu L. Dongyin H, Zhang F, Chenaand J, et al. Evaluation of chromatic cue for trapping Bactrocera tau. Pest Management Science 2016;73(1):217-222.

Petlamul W, Ngampongsai A, Petcharat J. Oviposition preference of papaya fruit fly, Bactrocera papayae Drew & Handcock (Diptera: Tephritidae) on some chili varieties. Thaksin University Journal 2009;69-75.

Prange R. Pre-harvest, harvest and post-harvest strategies for organic production of fruits and vegetables. Acta Horticulturae 2012;933:43-50.

Quilici S, Atiama-Nurbel T, Brévault T. Plant odors as fruit fly attractants. In: Shelly T, Epsky N, Jang E. et al. eds. Trapping and the Detection, Control, and Regulation of Tephritid Fruit Flies. Dordrecht: Springer 2014;119-144.

Rattanapun W, Amornsak W, Clarke AR. Bactrocera dorsalis preference for and performance on two mango varieties at three stages of ripeness. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 2009;131:243-253.

Rattanapun W, Tarasin M, Thitithanakul S, Sontikun Y. Host preference of Bactrocera latifrons (Hendel) (Diptera: Tephritidae) among fruits of solanaceous plants. Insects 2021;12:482.

Rolnik A, Olas B. Vegetables from the Cucurbitaceae family and their products: Positive effect on human health. Nutrition 2020;78:110788.

Saelee A, Tigvattananont S, Baimai V. Allozyme electrophoretic evidence for a complex of species within the Bactrocera tau group (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Thailand. Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology 2006;28(2):249-259.

Shi W, Kerdelhué C, Ye H. Genetic structure and colonization history of the fruit fly Bactrocera tau (Diptera: Tephritidae) in China and Southeast Asia. Journal of Economic Entomology 2014; 107(3):1256-1265.

Shi WL, Yang T, Ye H, Cao J. Impact of host plants on genetic variation in the Bactrocera tau (Diptera: Tephritidae) based on molecular markers. Journal of Entomological Science 2017;52(4):411-426.

Singh SK, Kumar D, Ramamurthy VV. Biology of Bactrocera (Zeugodacus) tau (Walker) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Entomological Research 2010;40(5):259-263.

Sorifa AM. Nutritional compositions, health promoting phytochemicals and value added products of bitter gourd: a review. International Food Research Journal 2018;25(5):1763-1772.

Sumrandee C, Milne JR, Baimai V. Ovipositor morphology and host relations of the Bactrocera tau complex. Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology 2011;33:247-254.

Thompson JN. Evolutionary ecology of the relationship between oviposition preference and performance of offspring in phytophagous insects. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 1988;47(1):3-14.

Uthpala TGG, Marapana U, Lakmini P, Wettimuny D. Nutritional bioactive compounds and health benefits of fresh and processed cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). Sumerianz Journal of Biotechnology 2020;3(9):75-82.

Vargas RI, Piñero JC, Leblanc L. An overview of pest species of Bactrocera fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) and the integration of biopesticides with other biological approaches for their management with a focus on the Pacific region. Insect 2015;6:297-318.

Verghese A, Sreedevi K, Nagaraju DK. Pre and post harvest IPM for the mango fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel). Proceedings of the 7th International symposium on Fruit Flies of Economic Importance: From Basic to Applied Knowledge, Brazil; 2006.

White IM, Elson-Harris MM. Fruit flies of economic significance: Their identification and bionomics. Oxon: CAB International; 1992.

Wu B, Shen K, An K, Huang J, Zhang R. Effect of larval density and host species on preimaginal development of Bactrocera tau (Diptera: Tephritidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 2011;104(6):1840-1850.

Yang PJ, Carey JR, Dowell RV. Host-specific demographic studies of wild Bactrocera tau (Walker) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 1994;70(3):253-258.




How to Cite

Karnjanaungkool , S. ., & Julsirikul, D. (2021). HOST PREFERENCE OF THE PUMPKIN FRUIT FLY, ZEUGODACUS TAU (WALKER) UNDER LABORATORY CONDITIONS. Life Sciences and Environment Journal, 22(2), 252–261.



Research Articles