Fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) are devastating agricultural pests worldwide but studies on their long-term population dynamics are sparse. Our aim was to determine the mechanisms driving long-term population dynamics as a prerequisite for ecologically based areawide pest management. The population density of three pestiferous Anastrepha species [Anastrepha ludens (Loew), Anastrepha obliqua (Macquart), and Anastrepha serpentina (Wiedemann) ] was determined in grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi Macfad.), mango (Mangifera indica L.), and sapodilla [Manilkara zapota (L.) P. Royen] orchards in central Veracruz, México, on a weekly basis over an 11-yr period. Fly populations exhibited relatively stable dynamics over time. Population dynamics were mainly driven by a direct density-dependent effect and a seasonal feedback process. We discovered direct and delayed influences that were correlated with both local (rainfall and air temperature) and global climatic variation (El Niño Southern Oscillation [ENSO] and North Atlantic Oscillation [NAO]), and detected differences among species and location of orchards with respect to the magnitude and nature (linear or nonlinear) of the observed effects, suggesting that highly mobile pest outbreaks become uncertain in response to significant climatic events at both global and local levels. That both NAO and ENSO affected Anastrepha population dynamics, coupled with the high mobility of Anastrepha adults and the discovery that when measured as rate of population change, local population fluctuations exhibited stable dynamics over time, suggests potential management scenarios for the species studied lie beyond the local scale and should be approached from an areawide perspective. Localized efforts, from individual growers will probably prove ineffective, and nonsustainable.
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Vol. 105 • No. 3