A doctoral scholar of Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni has discovered two new fruit fly (Tephritidae) species during survey studies conducted for fruit flies in Himachal Pradesh.
The discovery was made during the doctoral research of Maneesh Pal Singh, who was working under the guidance of Dr. Divender Gupta, former Professor and Head of the Department of Entomology of the university. After characterization and consultation with UK-based fruit fly taxonomy expert Dr. David Lawrence Hancock, the species were declared new to the world. The species were named Bactrocera prabhakari and Tephritis himalayae.
Dr. Maneesh Pal Singh, during his doctoral research, has described these new species. B. prabhakari is mainly prevalent in mid hills-parts of Solan and Shimla districts infesting a medicinal plant commonly known as Dutch eggplant while T. himalayae has been found in the high and mid hills of the state, infesting Circium falconeri an obnoxious and spiny orchard weed.
Higher diversity of fruit flies exists in the state compared to other North Indian states, as revealed by the findings of the research work carried out by Dr. Singh. The research findings have been published in the November and December issue of ‘Zootaxa’ Journal, which is published in New Zealand. The type specimens of the fruit fly have been deposited at the High Altitude Regional Centre of the Zoological Survey of India at Solan, for reference records.
Apart from the new species the Dacus fletcheri and Urophora terebrans were also recorded from Himachal Pradesh for the first time in India.
The fruit flies as a group are pests of International Importance and quarantine significance. These are direct pests and cause damage to several fruits. University Vice Chancellor Prof. Rajeshwar Singh Chandel congratulated the researchers on their discovery. Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Chauhan, Director of Research, Dr. Manish Sharma, Dean of College of Horticulture also congratulated the researchers on their discovery.