Melanagromyza hibisci

Melanagromyza hibisci Spencer, 1961

Previously hibisci was confused with Melanagromyza obtusa (Venugopal and Venkataramani, 1954, see Spencer, 1973), which infests the pods of pigeon pea.

Wing length: 2.4 - 2.8 mm. Lunule conspicuously narrow, frontorbits below the tip of lunule broadened. Both mesonotum and abdominal tergites with greenish metallic sheen.
Immature stages
Central horn of posterior spiracles is rather short, surrounded by some 8 spiracular bulbs.

Females oviposits in the younger parts of the stem, either in the upper part of seedlings or in side shoots. The larvae are internal feeders of the stem, petioles or pedicels. Pupation occurs mainly at the base of pedicels (Venugopal and Venkataramani, 1954, Rawat and Dhamdere, 1981).
After 3-4 days incubation time the larva feeds 9-11 days. The pupation time lasts 8-9 days (Venugopal and Venkataramani, 1954).

Hibiscus esculentus (okra, bhendi, bhindi, gumbo).

Although the okra plant originally comes from Africa, so far this Melanagromyza species has been found only in India (see Literature) and Sri Lanka (Material present at the BMNH).

Larval mining within the stem can produce gall-like swellings and longitudinal splittings. The growth of the plant can be stunted since the shoot above the infested regions withers.
Okra is an important tropical vegetable crop, therefore M. hibisci should be considered as serious pest. Sometimes the application of chemical insecticides against these flies was reported (e.g. Tomar, 1998) However, other authors found the okra stem flies are often controlled naturally by their parasitoids (Peter and Govindrarajulu, 1989, Kumar and Srinivasan, 1985).