Psyttalia fletcheri (Silvestri, 1916)

For additional information, see the Psyttalia page and Wharton (2009)
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Taxonomic History / Nomenclature
This species was originally described from India as Opius fletcheri by Silvestri (1916).
Fischer (1987) later placed this species in the subgenus Psyttalia. Psyttalia was subsequently elevated to generic rank by Wharton (1987), and the combination Psyttalia fletcheri (Silvestri) dates from that publication.
Diagnosis and Relationships
The wing venation is characteristic, and particularly useful for separating this species from Psyttalia incisi, which has also been released and established in Hawaii.
Indo-Pacific. Originally described from India.

Established in Hawaii (Fullaway 1917, Fullaway 1920) and Philippines on melon fly. Kinjo et al. (1981) provide some additional notes on geographic distribution and note it’s introduction to various islands from Taiwan in the 1930’s. It was introduced and became established in La Reunion in the 1990’s (Hurtrel et al. 1999).

Tamil Nadu (Hadden, F. C. 1936.)
Indonesia (Turica, A. 1968.)
Papua New Guinea (Fischer, M. 1971.; Papp, J. 1985.)
Bismark Archipelago (Fischer, M. 1971.; Papp, J. 1985.)
Puerto Rico (Fischer, M. 1971.)
Biology / Hosts
The melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) is the primary if not the only host. See Wharton and Gilstrap (1983) for discussion of other host records. More recently, specimens have been collected from various Bactrocera spp. in Thailand and Malaysia (Chinajariyawong et al. 2000). Psyttalia fletcheri appears to be confined to hosts in cucurbits.
Biology and Behavior
Much of the biological information on Psyttalia fletcheri is summarized by Clausen (1978). Detailed biologies were published early on by Willard (1920), who was one of the first to propose host vibration as a cue in host location for tephritid parasitoids, and Newell et al. 1952) and Nishida (1955, 1956), who noted high levels of parasitism on Momordica but inadequate levels of parasitism on cultivated curcurbits. Subsequent publications are mostly from Hawaii, and associated with improved understanding for field releases and control efforts in general (e.g. Ramadan et al. 1991, Purcell et al. 1994, Messing et al. 1995, Purcell and Messing 1996, Messing et al. 1996, Bautista et al. 2000, Jackson et al. 2003). There is also at least one publication from Japan (Furusawa et al. 1982) and two from La Reunion in the Indian Ocean (Hurtrel and Quilici 1997, Hurtrel et al. 1999).
Biology - Host Range Testing
This species was tested in the laboratory in Hawaii against non-target tephritids in galls and flower heads (Duan and Messing 1996, Duan and Messing 1997). It did not respond to flower heads and was unable to develop in the Lantana gall fly.
Biological Control
Released and established in Hawaii against melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Fullaway 1920). See Clausen (1978) for more details.

Mass reared for potential augmentative releases in Hawaii by Wong and Ramadan (1992) with comparative demography studies by Vargas et al. (2002). Augmentative releases were subsequently made by Vargas et al. (2004).