Plant-Insect Interaction: Walnut husk flies on a black walnut

Walnut husk fly (Rhagoletis suavis, Tephritidae) crawling on a black walnut fruit (Juglans nigra, Juglandaceae). Photographed 08/22/2010 near Blissfield Michigan.

These fruit flies are walnut husk flies (Rhagoletis suavis, Tephritidae).  I found a large number of them crawling and flying around the fruit of a black walnut tree (Juglans nigra, Juglandaceae).

Walnut husk fly (Rhagoletis suavis, Tephritidae) crawling on a black walnut fruit (Juglans nigra, Juglandaceae). Photographed 08/22/2010 near Blissfield Michigan.

The flies were probably gathering to mate.  In late summer/early autumn the females lay their eggs in the fleshy outer husk of the walnuts.  The eggs hatch and the larvae eat the husk, but leave the walnut itself unharmed.  Commercially they’re considered pests, since the softened husks complicate the mechanical extraction of the nuts.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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