Why fruit flies?

Our approach is holistic, challenging and enormously knowledge-savvy. Among its prerequisites, the existence of an extensive and solid knowledge base on pest biology, with a limited number of pre-identified gaps which could be filled by the project, is absolutely critical. Consequently, not all pests constitute a suitable subject for such an approach. To ensure project feasibility within its timescale, a solid dose of pragmatism was required in choosing its targets. Notwithstanding the importance of many other pests in Europe, FF are among the few which fulfil the abovementioned preconditions. Indeed, due to significant socioeconomic concerns to the devastating threats they pose to the global and European fruit production and trade, FF have been subjects of very extensive international research and development for decades. Thus, substantial parts of information on FF biology is already available and filling the knowledge gaps pre-identified by the project will permit the identification of key process drivers (invasion and IPM), employment of in-silico system-emulation approaches, and embarking on the development of groundbreaking pest management paradigms. We will capitalise on the vast investments and accomplishments made to date. Unquestionable socioeconomic relevance, imminent invasion threats, and the current trends in Europe credibly justify the choice of our targets.

Ceratitis capitata, Bactrocera dorsalis and Bactrocera zonata current distribution (dots) and threats to European horticulture
by natural dispersion and human assisted process (solid and broken lines respectively)

All fruit fly photographs by Antoine Franck, courtesy CIRAD.