Genetic structure of cherry fruit fly (Rhagoletis cingulata) populations across managed, unmanaged, and natural habitats

James J. Smith, Thomas H.Q. Powell, Luis Teixeira, William O. Armstrong, Robert J. Mcclowry, Rufus Isaacs, Glen R. Hood, Jeffrey L. Feder, Larry Gut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The cherry fruit fly (CFF), Rhagoletis cingulata Loew (Diptera: Tephritidae: Trypetini), is endemic to eastern North America and Mexico, where its primary native host is black cherry [Prunus serotina Ehrh. (Rosaceae)]. Cherry fruit fly is also a major economic pest of the fruit of cultivated sweet (Prunus avium L.) and tart (Prunus cerasus L.) cherries. Adult CFF that attack wild black cherry and introduced, domesticated cherries in commercial and abandoned orchards are active at different times of the summer, potentially generating allochronic isolation that could genetically differentiate native from sweet and tart CFF populations. Here, we test for host-related genetic differences among CFF populations in Michigan attacking cherries in managed, unmanaged, and native habitats by scoring flies for 10 microsatellite loci. Little evidence for genetic differentiation was found across the three habitats or between the northern and southern Michigan CFF populations surveyed in the study. Local gene flow between native black cherry, commercial, and abandoned orchards may therefore be sufficient to overcome seasonal differences in adult CFF activity and prevent differentiation for microsatellites not directly associated with (tightly linked to) genes affecting eclosion time. The results do not support the existence of host-associated races in CFF and imply that flies attacking native, managed, and unmanaged cherries should be considered to represent a single population for pest management purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-165
Number of pages9
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cherry orchards
  • Diptera
  • Microsatellites
  • Pest management
  • Population genetics
  • Prunus
  • Rosaceae
  • Tephritidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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