The objective of this study was to determine the host status in Mexico of commercially cultivated and marketed avocado, Persea americana (Mill.), ‘Hass’ to Anastrepha ludens (Loew), Anastrepha obliqua (Macquart), Anastrepha serpentina (Wiedemann), and Anastrepha striata (Schiner) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Experiments in Michoacán, Mexico, were carried out in six orchards located at three altitudes above sea level during two times (August–October 2001 and April–June 2002). They included choice (‘Hass’ avocado plus natural host) and no-choice foraging behavior tests on trees under field cages; no-choice, forced infestation trials on caged, fruit-bearing branches in the field, and with individual fruit under laboratory conditions; infestation trials using ‘Hass’ avocados left unprotected over 1 and 7 d on the ground of orchards; studies to ascertain depth of oviposition and determine egg hatchability; and experiments to determine susceptibility by using time elapsed since removal of fruit from tree as the experimental variable. We trapped adult Anastrepha (n = 7,936) in all orchards and dissected fruit (n = 7,695) from orchards and packing houses (n = 1,620) in search of eggs or larvae. Most (96.7%) A. ludens, A. obliqua, A. striata, and A. serpentina adults were captured in low-elevation orchards. No eggs or larvae were detected in any of the fruit from foraging behavior studies or dissected fruit from orchards or packing houses. Of 5,200 mature, intact fruit on trees in the field forcibly exposed to no-choice female oviposition activity (five females/fruit), we only found four fruit infested by A. ludens but no adults emerged. ‘Hass’ avocados only became marginally susceptible to attack by A. ludens (but not A. obliqua, A. serpentina, and A. striata) 24 h after being removed from the tree. Fruit placed on the ground in orchards (n = 3,600) were occasionally infested by Neosilba batesi (Curran) (Diptera: Lonchaeidae), a decomposer, but not Anastrepha spp. Based on our results, commercially cultivated and marketed P. americana ‘Hass’ should not be considered a natural host of A. ludens, A. obliqua, A. striata, and A. serpentina in Mexico.
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Vol. 97 • No. 2