Systematic quantitative observations of the location and diel pattern of adult Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), activities were carried out in an orange grove and surroundings on the island of Chios in Greece. Natural fly foods were assessed for their contribution to fly longevity, fecundity and fertility. There were diel shifts in male and female location. Females required a substantial and varied diet to realize peak fecundity. This diet was acquired away from the primary host, orange. Foraging for food throughout most of the day on fig and non-host foliage (including feeding on bird droppings) as well as on fig fruit and grapes, females dispersed and fed more than males. A diet of grapes alone did not support any fecundity, contributing only to longevity. A diet of figs alone, on the other hand, sustained both longevity and egg production. Bird feces alone supported neither egg production nor longevity. However, when added to a diet of figs, bird feces significantly increased fly fecundity. Throughout most of the day, males aggregated in leks within the inner canopy of the primary host, orange. The arrival here during the warmest hours of the day of receptive females, followed by pair formation, reinforced the lek mating system on host foliage. In the afternoon, females shifted to orange fruit where they suffered from high predation mortality while ovipositing. Soon after, males also shifted to orange fruit, where they attempted matings with non-receptive ovipositing females. Male feeding on fig fruit occurred late in the day, a time when they were least likely to find a mate. Male survival did not differ between the natural diets. Tradeoffs between food consumption, mating success and predator evasion are discussed for each sex and related to fruit fly mating systems.
- Food foraging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics