Destructive crop pest found in shipment at U.S. port

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CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says a destructive agricultural pest has been found in a shipment at the Port of Philadelphia.

Federal authorities say the presence of Mediterranean fruit flies, also known as MedFly, was detected during a Dec. 14 inspection of 105,000 crates of clementines at the port in Camden, New Jersey. The shipment came from Morocco.

Agricultural specialists discovered one live MedFly larva in the shipment among many dead others. The shipment was headed to markets across the U.S.

The female MedFly attacks ripening fruit by piercing its skin and laying eggs in the cavity. The eggs hatch into larvae that feast on the inside of the fruit and make it inedible.

A MedFly infestation several years ago caused billions of dollars in damage to crops in California.

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