Rhagoletis pomonella
Apple Maggot

Photography by Max E. Badgley (1922-2006)

Rhagoletis pomonella, larva of the apple maggot 
Photo © Max E. Badgley, published with permission from the Max E. Badgley Estate, with special thanks to the University of California, Riverside, who kindly supplied this image from the UCR Chalcidoidea database collection.

The apple maggot, Rhagoletis pomonella, is native to the eastern United States and Canada, but was not found in the western U.S. until 1979. In that year, it was discovered in Oregon.  Later it moved southward into California, northward to Washington, and thence to other western states. Though this pest favors hawthorn and apples, it also infests cherries, pears, and other fruits.

Apple maggot is not the common apple worm of cartoon fame.  That pest is the larvae of the codling moth, Cydia pomonella, which is not native to the U.S. but was introduced by settlers in the early 19th century.  The common apple worm makes a single entrance hole, migrates to the core, and continues through the apple to an exit hole.  Apple maggots, by comparison, permeate the apple with their meanderings, ruining the fruit completely.

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