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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/411

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407
INSECTS INJURIOUS TO AGRICULTURE

pines; and these islands not being very far from Australia, Compere started then for that archipelago. He only passed through there, and then visited China and Japan without meeting the Ceratitis. From Japan he went to the United States, where the fly in question does not exist, but where in the collections and the laboratories he thought to gain facts which should throw some light upon the problem of its origin. From there he went to Spain, and there tried to learn from what region this country received the fruit fly. He was not able, however, to get any knowledge of this kind, but a large number of fruit growers told him that they remembered the time when oranges, peaches and other fruit were not damaged by the larva of this insect. Was that not sufficient to confirm his opinion that the Ceratitis was a fly not indigenous to Spain?

After having traversed the south of France and Italy, he went back again to Australia, and shortly afterwards departed for the Indies. In the following month of September he landed at Bombay, traveling through Hindostan, visiting the great markets as well as the orchards and the principal fruit regions around Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Ceylon, studying the flies of the different species of fruits, as well as the parasites living at their expense, wherever he could find them. Then, always without having found the Ceratitis and finding nothing which could serve him in the struggle against this insect, he returned to Australia persuaded from certain indications he had collected in the United States, that the original country of the celebrated dipterous insect was Brazil. The seventh of January, 1904, he sailed, then, for South America. Arrived in Brazil, he quickly ascertained that Ceratitis capitata exists there in company with other flies injurious to fruit, and at the same time he observed some Ichneumonids and some beetles of the family Staphylinidæ, which were carrying on a war against the flies. If the Ceratitis causes, in general, only slight damage in Brazil, it can be only owing to the presence of all these natural enemies which hold it in check. And it, therefore, resulted that Brazil was the promised land for the fervent entomological traveler, the original home of the Mediterranean fruit fly! Arranging as ample a provision as possible for the parasites and predatory enemies of this insect, and arranging for their food for the time necessary for their journey, he then returned to Australia.

On his arrival, the Staphylinids were set at liberty in one of the gardens of Perth, where the conditions seemed particularly favorable to insure their subsistence. The pupæ parasitized by the Hymenoptera to the number of about 200 were placed in breeding jars, and as the parasites emerged they were liberated in the orchards most infested by the fruit fly.

If we have told with some details this story of the journey around