The spatial distribution patterns of five melon cultivars (Cucumis melo L. var. reticulatus) were evaluated by measuring XY coordinates of ripe fruit locations in the field. Fruit ripeness distribution over time was also evaluated for three cultivars by measuring the number of ripe fruit, fruit mass, and location over time. Spatial distribution curves for distances between fruit clusters and individual fruit from cluster centroids varied between clusters and were derived for each cultivar from the best fit curves based on chi-square analysis from the two-dimensional spatial fruit distribution. These equations can be used for predicting actual fruit locations in the field. Ripeness distribution patterns indicated that, while the exact duration of the effective harvesting period is cultivar-dependent, the ripeness trend for each of the cultivars was similar. Spatial distribution patterns vary among melon cultivars and must be recognized in the design of automated harvesting systems.
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