Emerging Pest Alert

Outbreak of Anastrepha grandis (South American cucurbit fruit fly) in Panama

Scientific Name: Anastrepha grandis

Describer: Macquart

Common Name: South American cucurbit fruit fly

Title: Outbreak of Anastrepha grandis (South American cucurbit fruit fly) in Panama


Significance: The Republic of Panama detected Anastrepha grandis, the South American cucurbit fruit fly, in Darien and eastern Panama Provinces. In countries like the United States, this fruit fly is considered a pest of quarantine significance. The pest is known to infest cucurbits, and Panama is a major producer and exporter of cucurbits. Since January 2008, Panama has exported about 4,000,000 lbs of squash, 2,200,000 lbs of watermelon, 1,700,000 lbs of cantaloupe and honeydew, and 42,000 lbs of cucumbers to the United States. Almost all cucurbit production in Panama is located west of the Panama Canal, while all detections of A. grandis have been east of the canal. In response to Panama’s detection of A. grandis, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Insection Service (APHIS) has increased sampling and cutting of cucurbit fruits from Panama upon arrival in the United States. 

An APHIS official visited the outbreak sites to evaluate Panama’s surveillance and eradication efforts and was confident that the existing surveillance programs in Panama are sufficient to restrict movement of cucurbits to production areas in western Panama. Therefore, APHIS determined that it was unnecessary to prohibit importations from western Panama at this time. Should trapping records or fruit sampling and cutting indicate continued westward movement of A. grandis, APHIS will adopt appropriate measures on imports of cucurbits from Panama.

Hosts: Cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae)

Quarantines: Panama’s Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA) has established a quarantine, which prohibits the movement of cucurbit fruits from eastern Panama and Darien Provinces. All westbound vehicles are stopped at an established checkpoint and no cucurbit fruits are allowed past the checkpoint. Panama also regulates coastwise vessel movement from Darien and eastern Panama Provinces. In addition, MIDA has increased fruit fly traps and began applications of Spinosad (Naturlyte) bait sprays by backpack sprayers to properties within 500 meters of positive capture sites at 10 day intervals.

Comments: APHIS continues to cooperate with Panama to control the outbreak of A. grandis and is recommending the formation of a Science Advisory Panel consisting of recognized experts in management of Anastrepha spp. fruit flies to evaluate the situation and recommend appropriate control and eradication measures.


Official communication from the APHIS PPQ Deputy Administrator to the State Plant Regulatory Officials. July 6, 2009. Outbreak of Anastrepha grandis (South American cucurbit fruit fly) in Panama. http://nationalplantboard.org/docs/spro/spro_cff_2009_07_06.pdf