Distribution, population dynamics and damage of Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) in North Tunisia uri icon


  • A three years survey and monitoring studies (2013-2014-2015) were carried out through 4 regions of north Tunisia in order to follow the evolution of the distribution, the frequency of occurrence and damage caused by the Hessian fly Mayetiola destructor (Say) to bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf). Moreover, the effectiveness of resistance genes H3, H5, H6, H7, H8, H9, H10, H11, H12, H13, H14, H15, H22, H23, H25 and H26 to protect wheat from Hessian fly attack was assessed in natural field and under controlled laboratory conditions at INRAT-Kef Station. Results showed that Hessian fly was detected in 60.33% and 51.5% of all sampled durum and bread wheat fields, respectively. This pest was more frequent with a higher percentage of infestation in semi-arid regions. Indeed, during 2013, infestation rate attained 12.39% in Kef region against 0.9% registered in Bizerte region. In order to update information about the annual number of generations, we surveyed the population dynamic of Hessian fly in Kef region. Three generations of the fly were counted annually on wheat, with two complete and one incomplete generation. This insect affects host plant growth at different developmental stages. Plant height was the most affected parameter followed by shoot dry weight and tiller number. Field investigations on host resistance revealed that among the 16 tested resistance genes, and only three were strictly effective (H22, H25 and H26). The resistance genes H5, H9, H13 and H9H13 have also conferred high levels of protection against Hessian fly. This work indicated that H22, H25 and H26 genes could be incorporated into Tunisian wheat varieties and released to farmers to manage the threat due to Hessian fly attacks.

publication date

  • 2021
  • 2020