Olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae) population dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean: influence of exogenous uncertainty on a monophagous frugivorous insect

Mariano Ordano, Izhar Engelhard, Polychronis Rempoulakis, Esther Nemny-Lavy, Moshe Blum, Sami Yasin, Itamar M. Lensky, Nikos T. Papadopoulos, David Nestel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Despite of the economic importance of the olive fly (Bactrocera oleae) and the large amount of biological and ecological studies on the insect, the factors driving its population dynamics (i.e., population persistence and regulation) had not been analytically investigated until the present study. Specifically, our study investigated the autoregressive process of the olive fly populations, and the joint role of intrinsic and extrinsic factors molding the population dynamics of the insect. Accounting for endogenous dynamics and the influences of exogenous factors such as olive grove temperature, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the presence of potential host fruit, we modeled olive fly populations in five locations in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Our models indicate that the rate of population change is mainly shaped by first and higher order non-monotonic, endogenous dynamics (i.e., density-dependent population feedback). The olive grove temperature was the main exogenous driver, while the North Atlantic Oscillation and fruit availability acted as significant exogenous factors in one of the five populations. Seasonal influences were also relevant for three of the populations. In spite of exogenous effects, the rate of population change was fairly stable along time. We propose that a special reproductive mechanism, such as reproductive quiescence, allows populations of monophagous fruit flies such as the olive fly to remain stable. Further, we discuss how weather factors could impinge constraints on the population dynamics at the local level. Particularly, local temperature dynamics could provide forecasting cues for management guidelines. Jointly, our results advocate for establishing monitoring programs and for a major focus of research on the relationship between life history traits and populations dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0127798
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


Dive into the research topics of 'Olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae) population dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean: influence of exogenous uncertainty on a monophagous frugivorous insect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this