Journal of Pest Science (2018) 91:927–935
A simple and cost‑eective molecular method to track predation
on Drosophila suzukii in the eld
· Christiane Zeisler
· Daniela Sint
· Jörg Romeis
· Michael Traugott
· Jana Collatz
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 7 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published online: 3 January 2018
© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018
The vinegar ﬂy Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) is an invasive species that attacks ripening fruits and berries, leading to
considerable losses in fruit production. So far, management mainly relies on chemical and cultural control, but additional
measures such as biological control are needed. Hence, for the development of sustainable control measures of this pest it
is important to identify potential natural enemies such as generalist predators that feed on D. suzukii. Here, we established
a simple and cost-eﬀective assay to speciﬁcally detect D. suzukii DNA in the guts of arthropod predators. Furthermore, we
developed a general Drosophila spp. primer pair to identify predators of Drosophila species in general that might also feed
on D. suzukii and to compare predation rates on D. suzukii to those of other Drosophila species. We applied the assays to
ﬁeld-collected predators and identiﬁed three predator taxa—earwigs, spiders and predatory bugs—that had fed on D. suzukii.
The assays provide a ﬁrst step towards unravelling the predator community attacking D. suzukii that should be considered as
biological control agents but also as non-targets potentially aﬀected by other measures to control this invasive pest.
Keywords Spotted-wing drosophila · SWD · Molecular gut content analysis · PCR · Trophic interactions · Biological
Drosophila suzukii causes large economic losses in fruit
and berry production. However, little is known about
predators that might feed on this pest.
We developed molecular assays to speciﬁcally detect
DNA of D. suzukii and of Drosophila spp. in the guts of
Up to 40% of ﬁeld-collected earwigs, spiders and bugs
had consumed D. suzukii.
The approach allows to further investigate the role of
predators in controlling D. suzukii populations.
The spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii (Mat-
sumura) (Diptera: Drosophilidae), a vinegar ﬂy native to
South East Asia, has recently invaded Europe, North- and
South America and is spreading rapidly (Asplen et al. 2015).
Drosophila suzukii has a high dispersal ability, fast life cycle
and shows rapid population growth (Hamby et al. 2016),
which allows it to quickly migrate and establish stable popu-
lations in new habitats (Cini et al. 2012). In contrast to native
frugivorous Drosophila species that use decaying fruit for
oviposition, females of D. suzukii lay eggs into ripening
fruits and berries of numerous crop species and initiate a
process of rapid fruit decay while larvae develop. Therefore,
D. suzukii has become a major problem in fruit production
leading to substantial economic losses (Mazzi et al. 2017).
Communicated by A. Biondi.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this
article (http s://doi.org/10.1007 /s103 40-017-0948 -7) contains
supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
* Jana Collatz
Agroscope, Research Division Agroecology
and Environment, Reckenholzstrasse 191, 8046 Zurich,
Mountain Agriculture Research Unit, Institute
of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Technikerstrasse 25,
6020 Innsbruck, Austria