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Granada Hills Fruit Fly Remains an Enigma

September 04, 1987|BOB POOL | Times Staff Writer

State agricultural officials said Thursday that they have failed to identify a mysterious fruit fly found a month ago in a Granada Hills peach tree.

An Australian fruit fly expert has been unable to name the brownish-colored insect caught in a sticky-sided trap in a White Oak Avenue backyard, said Gera Curry, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The dead fly was shipped to R. Drew, an entomologist for the Australian government, after a fruit fly expert at the University of Hawaii was unable to identify it, she said.

"He's the world's foremost authority on the Dacus species and he doesn't know," Curry said of Drew. "It's a Dacus , but it's definitely not one he knows of."

Drew speculated that the Granada Hills fly may be from Asia, Curry said. Such a fly could have "hitchhiked" to California in illegally imported food or in a traveler's luggage.

The Granada Hills fly was discovered Aug. 7 in a trap behind the home of Rosine Melcon by Los Angeles County agricultural trap collector Rosemarie Sanchez during a routine check. Officials said fruit flies can travel up to 30 miles.

In case others were in the northern San Fernando Valley, county officials hastily installed 130 more fly traps in other trees in a nine-square-mile area of Granada Hills. No more mystery flies were found, however.

The discovery of the lone Granada Hills fly is unrelated to the recent Mediterranean fruit fly infestation in southeast Los Angeles County, officials said.

"The important thing is no more of them have been found," Curry said. "As we all learned in biology class, as long as there's just one, it isn't going to cause a problem."

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