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Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Research in Latin America: Myths, Realities and Dreams
Martín Ramón Aluja Schuneman Hofer
Acceso Abierto
I offer a critical assessment of fruit fly research in Latin America based on the notion that many myths and misconceptions are forced upon students and young scientists or government officials. I argue that after an enlightening beginning of the century, during which many significant discoveries were made about the natural history of these insects, little progress has been observed in many areas of fruit fly research and management in Latin America during the past 50 years. This has been caused in part by the reductionist, single-species or pest-only approaches followed in the study of these marvelous insects, as well as by the scarcity of studies under natural conditions. To break this vicious cycle, I propose that we pay more attention to the natural history of non-pest and pest species, broaden the scope and widen the time scale of our studies, strengthen the theoretical and ecological underpinnings of fruit fly research in Latin America and foster the comparative approach whenever possible. I present several fruit fly myths (e.g., the status of certain fruits as fruit fly hosts and certain species as pests), review the status of knowledge in most areas of fruit fly research in Latin America, and discuss some possibilities for future studies. I conclude by proposing that on the threshold of the new millennium, the time seems appropriate to follow those early pioneers and once again push forward our understanding of fruit fly biology, ecology and behavior. To achieve this, we need to generate new paradigms and foster creative thinking among our students.
An. Soc. Entomol. Brasil
Aluja M. 1999. Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Research in Latin America: Myths, Realities and Dreams. An. Soc. Entomol. Brasil. 28 (4): 565-594
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