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The cherry-infesting fruit fly Rhagoletis cerasi Loew is a significant commercial pest in Europe that has recently invaded North America. To date, it has been trapped only in Canada and northwestern counties of New York. It has the potential to spread further and threaten production and movement of cherry commodities. Timely diagnosis of the pest will facilitate surveys and quick response to new detections. Adult morphology of the pest is distinct from other flies in North America. However, when flies are significantly damaged on traps or the immature life stages are found in fruits, molecular methods of identification are important to confirm presence and host-use records. Other than DNA sequencing of genes from flies which takes over a day to complete, there are no timely methods of molecular identification for this pest. In this study, we report the first sequence record of the internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) from R. cerasi and develop two diagnostic tests for the pest based on ITS1 differences among species in North America. The tests use loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and multiplex, conventional polymerase chain reaction (mcPCR) technologies that target the same region of the R. cerasi ITS1 sequence. Both tests performed well when tested against collections of R. cerasi from North America and Europe, generating Diagnostic Sensitivity estimates of 98.4–99.5%. Likewise, the tests had relatively high estimates of Diagnostic Specificity (97.8–100%) when tested against Rhagoletis Loew species present in North America that also use cherry as a developmental host.


Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2020. 360 This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.

Publication Title

Journal of Economic Entomology



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Biology Commons



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