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<em>Zeugodacus cucurbitae</em>

Zeugodacus cucurbitae

Melon fly
Previous scientific names: Dacus cucurbitae, Chaetodacus cucurbitae, Strumeta cucurbitae, Dacus (Strumeta) cucurbitae, Dacus (Zeugodacus) cucurbitae, Bactrocera cucurbitae


Morphological – adult

Features include;

  • medium sized species
  • large black facial spots present
  • postpronotal lobes and notopleura yellow
  • scutum red-brown with or without fuscous markings, mesopleural stripe reaching midway between anterior margin of notopleuron and anterior npl. seta, lateral postsutural vittae beginning anterior to mesonotal suture, narrow medial postsutural vitta present, scuttelum yellow
  • wing with a broad fuscous costal band expanding into a fuscous spot at wing apex, a broad fuscous anal streak, dark fuscous along dm-cu crossvein, pale infuscation along r-m crossvein, cells bc and c colourless, microtrichia in outer corner of cell c only
  • abdominal terga III-V orange-brown except for a narrow transverse black band across anterior margin of tergum III which expands over anterolateral corners, a narrow medial longitudinal dark fuscous to black band over all three terga and anterolateral corners of terga IV and V fuscous
  • posterior lobe of male surstylus long; female with aculeus needle shaped (Drew 1989; Drew and Romig 2013).

Morphological – larvae

See White and Elson-Harris 1992 p. 268



BsrI: Does not cut

HinfI: Does not cut

HhaI: 400, 180

Sau3AI: Does not cut

SnaBI: Does not cut

SspI: Does not cut

Vspl: Does not cut

Approximate ITS1 fragment length – gel: 600 bp


RsaI produces a highly diagnostic restriction pattern; other useful enzymes are AluI, CfoI, DraI, HinfI, Sau3A, SspI. See Restriction enzyme haplotype chart and Diagnostic restriction patterns.

RsaI: 410, 400, 310, 290

Host Range

Polyphagous. Primarily a pest of cucurbits but recorded on 44 hosts from 12 families including Cucurbitaceae, Fabaceae, Malvaceae, Myrtaceae and Solanaceae. Main commercial hosts include watermelon, rockmelon, cucumber, pumpkin, bitter melon, edible Luffa, ivy gourd, wax gourd, bean and tomato. For a full list of recorded hosts see Allwood et al. 1999; Leblanc et al. 2012.

Major commercial hosts (Drew 1989, Allwood et al. 1999):

  • Coccinia grandis (ivy gourd)
  • Cucurbita pepo (ornamental gourd)
  • Cucumis melo (melon)
  • Momordica charantia
  • Cucumis satinus
  • Trichosanthes cucumerina var. anguinea (snakegourd)
  • Cucurbita maxima (giant pumpkin)


ASIA – Widely distributed over Asia from the Middle East through the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and southern China

AFRICA – Occurs in Senegal, Gambia, Guinea – Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan

OCEANIA –Christmas Island, Papua New Guinea, Mariana Islands, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Kiribati, Guam, Hawaii (Drew and Romig 2013).

Similar species

Similar to Z. choristus but differs in being more golden, having narrower medial and lateral vittae, having a more semicircular spot at the wing apex, sometimes having a faint infuscation on the r-m cross vein and having a less defined narrower T on the abdomen.

All tested molecular markers clearly separate Z. cucurbitae and Z. choristus.

Pest Status

  • Exotic
  • A serious pest of cucurbit crops


Cue-group. Melolure (raspberry ketone formate) was found to be a stronger attractant than cue-lure in Hawaii (Casana-Giner et al. 2003).