The influence of media type and moisture on adult development and pupal mortality in western cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis indifferens Curran (Diptera:Tephritidae), was assessed using the pupal-adult and the larval-pupal stage. Inside containers, a higher percent of flies that emerged from dry loam was deformed (44.2%, 1-cm-depth loam; 84.4%, 5-cm-depth loam) than flies from 16% moist loam and dry and 16% moist lab soil (peat moss-sand mix) (0–14.9%). Percent of flies deformed from dry sand (22.1%, 1-cm depth; 49.5%, 5-cm depth) was greater than from 16% moist sand and dry and 16% moist peat moss (0–10.5%). Percents of flies deformed from 8% moist loam, lab soil, sand, and peat moss (0–5.8%) did not differ. Pupae suffered higher mortality at 7 and 14 d after larvae were dropped onto dry loam and dry sand (68.2–94.0%) than dry lab soil and dry peat moss (3.0–53.0%); respective mortalities at 21 and 28 d were similar (81.3–96.0 versus 64.7–97.9%). Pupal mortality in moist media was lower (0.5–40.3%) than in dry media. In outdoor tests, pupal mortality was also higher in dry loam than other dry media. In nature, 60.9% of pupae in dry sandy loams in late summer were dead. Results suggest R. indifferens has not yet evolved to fully cope with dry soils and that pupation in media with traits similar to those of peat moss or a peat moss-sand mix could reduce negative effects of dry environments on fly survival.
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Vol. 42 • No. 3