The geographical distribution of Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), is limited to relatively warm regions and does not cross the 41° north latitude. A recent study has demonstrated that, in contrast to the earlier suggested hypothesis, that Mediterranean fruit fly can survive the winter in relatively cold areas, it does not overwinter in such areas but reinvades them annually from adjacent warmer sites. In the present work, we use a large-scale spatial approach to describe the spatiotemporal dynamics of Mediterranean fruit fly in a large heterogeneous landscape as well as discuss the consequences of such dynamics for basic research and control practices. During a 2-yr period (2000–2001), over the central part of Israel (6,875 km2), adult males were monitored and recorded weekly by using Steiner-like traps. Data obtained were incorporated into a geographic information system to produce weekly distribution maps of C. capitata within the study area. The patterns of change in population sizes through time were consistent in both years, suggesting that C. capitata overwinters along the coastal plain and the Jordan Valley. Reinvasion to the higher altitudes is followed by a population increase in the warmer, lower altitudes, during the spring and early summer. By midsummer, flies were found at all sites within the study area. However, flies started disappearing from the high-altitude areas during fall and were absent from these areas during winter. We suggest that understanding such spatiotemporal dynamics has far-reaching consequences for future basic research as well as control and eradication programs.
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Vol. 98 • No. 1