Tephritidae are one of two fly families referred to as fruit
flies, the other family being the Drosophilidae. The family
Tephritidae does not include the biological model organisms of the
Drosophila (in the family Drosophilidae), which is often called
the "common fruit fly". Nearly 5,000 described species of tephritid
fruit fly are categorized in almost 500 genera of the Tephritidae.
Description, recategorization, and genetic analyses are constantly
changing the taxonomy of this family. To distinguish them from the
Tephritidae are sometimes called peacock flies, in
reference to their elaborate and colorful markings. The name comes
from the Greek τεφρος, tephros, meaning "ash grey". They are
found in all the ecozones.
3 Economic importance
6 Species lists
7 See also
9 Further reading
10 External links
For terms see
Morphology of Diptera
Morphology of Diptera and
Tephritids are small to medium-sized (2.5–10 mm) flies that are
often colourful, and usually with pictured wings, the subcostal vein
curving forward at a right angle. The head is hemispherical and
usually short. The face is vertical or retreating and the frons is
broad. Ocelli and cellar bristles are present. The postvertical
bristles are parallel to divergent. Two to eight pairs of frontal
bristles are seen (at least one but usually several lower pairs
curving inwards and at least one of the upper pairs curving
backwards). In some species, the frontal bristles are inserted on a
raised tubercle. Interfrontal setulae are usually absent or
represented by one or two tiny setulae near the lunula. True vibrissae
are absent, but several genera have strong bristles near the vibrissal
angle. The wings usually have yellow, brown, or black markings or are
dark-coloured with lighter markings. In a few species, the wings are
clear. The costa has both a humeral and a subcostal break. The apical
part of the subcostal is usually indistinct or even transparent and at
about a right angle with respect to the basal part. Crossvein BM-Cu is
present; the cell cup (posterior cubital cell or anal cell) is closed
and nearly always narrowing to an acute angle. It is closed by a
geniculated vein (CuA2). The CuA2 vein is rarely straight or convex.
The tibiae lack a dorsal preapical bristle. The female has an
The larva is amphipneustic (having only the anterior and posterior
pairs of spiracle). The body varies from white to yellowish or brown.
The posterior end of pale-coloured species is sometimes black. The
body tapers at the anterior. The two mandibles sometimes have teeth
along the ventral margin. The antennomaxillary lobes at each side of
the mandibles have several transverse oral ridges or short laminae
directed posteriorly. The anterior spiracles (prothoracic spiracles)
end bluntly and are not elongated. Each has at least three openings or
up to 50 arranged transversely in one to three groups or irregularly.
Each posterior spiracle (anal spiracle) lacks a clearly defined
peritreme and each has three spiracular openings (in mature larvae).
These are usually more or less horizontal, parallel and usually bear
branched spiracular hairs in four tufts.
Urophora quadrifasciata on
Chaetostomella cylindrica mating (notice the parting kiss)
The larvae of almost all
Tephritidae are phytophagous. Females deposit
eggs in living, healthy plant tissue using their telescopic
ovipositors. Here, the larvae find their food upon emerging. The
larvae develop in leaves, stems, flowers, seeds, fruits, and roots of
the host plant, depending on the species. Some species are
gall-forming. One exception to the phytophagous lifestyle is Euphranta
toxoneura (Loew) whose larvae develop in galls formed by sawflies.The
adults sometimes have a very short lifespan. Some live for less than a
week. Some species are monophagous (feeding on only one plant species)
others are polyphagous (feeding on several, usually related plant
The behavioral ecology of tephritid fruit flies is of great interest
to biologists. Some fruit flies have extensive mating rituals or
territorial displays. Many are brightly colored and visually showy.
Some fruit flies show Batesian mimicry, bearing the colors and
markings of dangerous arthropods such as wasps or jumping spiders
because it helps the fruit flies avoid predation, though the flies
Adult tephritid fruit flies are often found on the host plant and
feeding on pollen, nectar, rotting plant debris, or honeydew.
Natural enemies include the
Diapriidae and the Braconidae.
Tephritid fruit flies are of major economic importance in agriculture.
Some have negative effects, some positive. Various species of fruit
flies cause damage to fruit and other plant crops. The genus
Bactrocera is of worldwide notoriety for its destructive impact on
agriculture. The olive fruit fly (B. oleae), for example, feeds on
only one plant: the wild or commercially cultivated olive, Olea
europaea. It has the capacity to ruin 100% of an olive crop by
damaging the fruit.
Euleia heraclei is a pest of celery and parsnips.
Anastrepha includes several important pests, notably A.
grandis, A. ludens, A. obliqua, and A. suspensa. Other pests are
Strauzia longipennis, a pest of sunflowers and Rhagoletis mendax, a
pest of blueberries. Another notorious agricultural pest is the
Mediterranean fruit fly
Mediterranean fruit fly or Medfly, Ceratitis capitata, which is
responsible for millions of dollars' worth in expenses by countries
for control and eradication efforts, in addition to costs of damage to
Some fruit flies are used as agents of biological control, thereby
reducing the populations of pest species. Several species of the genus
Urophora are used as control agents against rangeland-destroying
noxious weeds such as starthistles and knapweeds, but their
effectiveness is questionable.
Urophora sirunaseva produces larvae
that pupate within a woody gall within the flower and disrupt seed
Chaetorellia acrolophi is an effective biocontrol agent
Chaetorellia australis and Chaetorellia succinea,
deposit eggs into the starthistle seedheads, where their larvae
consume the seeds and flower ovaries.
Since economically important tephritid fruit flies exist worldwide,
vast networks of researchers, several international symposia, and
intensive activities on various subjects extend from ecology to
molecular biology (Tephritid Workers Database).
Pest management techniques applied to tephritid include the use of
cover sprays with conventional pesticides, however, due to deleterious
impact of these pesticides, new, less impactful and more targeted pest
control techniques have been used, such as toxic food baits, male
annihilation technique using specific male attractant parapheromones
in toxic baits or mass trapping, or even sterile insect technique as
part of integrated pest management.
Tephritidae is divided into several subfamilies:
Blepharoneurinae (5 genera, 34 species)
Dacinae (41 genera, 1066 species)
Phytalmiinae (95 genera, 331 species)
Tachiniscinae (8 genera, 18 species)
Tephritinae (211 genera, 1859 species)
Trypetinae (118 genera, 1012 species)
The genera Oxyphora, Pseudorellia, and Stylia comprise 32 species, and
are not included in any subfamily (incertae sedis).
Richard H. Foote, P. L. Blanc, Allen L. Norrbom, 1993 Handbook of the
Fruit Flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) of America North of Mexico Cornell
University Press (Comstock Publishing).
Merz, B. 1994. Diptera Tephritidae. Insecta Helvetica Fauna 10: 1-198.
White, I.M. 1988. Tephritid flies. Diptera: Tephritidae. Handbooks for
the Identification of British Insects 10(5a): 1-134.
White I.M. & Elson-Harris M.M. 1994 Fruit Flies of Economic
Significance: their Identification and Bionomics. 2nd ed.
International Institute of Entomology, London.
R.A.I. Drew and Meredith C Romig Tropical Fruit Flies of South-East
Asia (Tephritidae: Dacinae) CABI ISBN 9781780640358
Hendel1914. Die Gattungen der Bohrfliegen. Wein. Entomol. Ztg. 33:
73–98. Keys to World genera Out of date but still the only world
Hendel, F., 1927. Trypetidae.In: Lindner, E. (Ed.). Die Fliegen der
palaearktischen Region 5, 49, 1-221. Keys to Palaearctic species but
now needs revision (in German).
Séguy, E. (1934) Diptères: Brachycères. II.
Scatophagidae. Paris: Éditions Faune de France 28. virtuelle
Rikhter, V.A. Family
Conopidae in Bei-Bienko, G. Ya, 1988 Keys to the
insects of the European Part of the USSR Volume 5 (Diptera) Part 2
English edition. Keys to Palaearctic species but now needs revision.
West Palaearctic including Russia
^ K. G. V. Smith, 1989 An introduction to the immature stages of
British Flies. Diptera Larvae, with notes on eggs, puparia and
Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects
Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects Vol 10 Part
14. pdf Archived 2014-02-09 at the Wayback Machine. download manual
(two parts Main text and figures index)
^ Phillips, V.T., 1946. The biology and identification of trypetid
larvae (Diptera: Trypetidae). Memoirs of the American Entomological
Society 12: 1-161.
^ Dean E. Pearson & Ragan M. Callaway (2008). "Weed-biocontrol
insects reduce native-plant recruitment through second-order apparent
competition" (PDF). Ecological Applications. 18 (6): 1489–1500.
doi:10.1890/07-1789.1. PMID 18767624.
^ Sobhian, R. 1993. Life history and host specificity of Urophora
sirunaseva (Herng)(Dipt., Tephritidae), an agent for biological
control of yellow starthistle, with remarks on the host plant. J.
Appl. Entomol. 116: 381-390.
^ Turner, C.E., G.L. Piper and E.M. Coombs. 1996. Chaetorellia
australis (Diptera: Tephritidae) for biological control of yellow
Centaurea solstitialis (Compositae), in the western USA:
establishment and seed destruction. Bull. Entomol. Res. 86: 1 77-182.
^ Allen L. Norrbom (April 30, 2004). "Fruit
Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae)
Phylogeny". The Diptera Site. Agricultural Research Service. Archived
from the original on July 9, 2010. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
Christenson, L. D. and Foote, R.H. 1960. Biology of fruit flies, Annu.
Rev. Entomol., vol. 5, pp. 171–192.
Bruce A. McPheron, Gary J. Steck (Editors), 1996 Fruit fly
pests : a world assessment of their biology and management
International Symposium on Fruit Flies of Economic Importance
(4th : 1994 : Sand Key, Florida, USA) Delray Beach,
Fla. : St Lucie Press
Foote R.H., Steyskal G.C. 1981 Tephritidae. in: McAlpine J.F. (Ed.),
Manual of Nearctic Diptera.
Agriculture Canada, Ottawa,
pp. 817–831.ISBN 0660107317 pdf download manual
Pest Information Wiki
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tephritidae.
Wikispecies has information related to Tephritidae
Natural Enemies of True Fruit Flies (Tephritidae), USDA
Tephritidae Information from the Diptera Site
The Diptera site Comprehensive guide to identification literature with
a worldwide perspective.
Images at BugGuide
Tephritidae at EOL Image Gallery
IPC-Fruit Flies webpage
Pest Fruit Flies of the World
Biological Control of Tephritidae
Extant Diptera families
Dixidae (meniscus midges)
Corethrellidae (frog-biting midges)
Chaoboridae (phantom midges)
Thaumaleidae (solitary midges)
Simuliidae (black flies)
Ceratopogonidae (biting midges)
Chironomidae (non-biting midges)
Blephariceridae (net-winged midges)
Deuterophlebiidae (mountain midges)
Bibionidae (march flies, lovebugs)
Anisopodidae (wood gnats)
Sciaridae (dark-winged fungus gnats)
Cecidomyiidae (gall midges)
Scatopsidae (minute black scavenger flies, or dung midges)
Psychodidae (moth flies)
Ptychopteridae (phantom crane flies)
Tanyderidae (primitive crane flies)
Trichoceridae (winter crane flies)
Pediciidae (hairy-eyed craneflies)
Tipulidae (crane flies)
Apioceridae (flower-loving flies)
Asilidae (robber flies)
Bombyliidae (bee flies)
Hilarimorphidae (hilarimorphid flies)
Mydidae (mydas flies)
Scenopinidae (window flies)
Therevidae (stiletto flies)
Hybotidae (dance flies)
Dolichopodidae (long-legged flies)
Empididae (dagger flies, balloon flies)
Acroceridae (small-headed flies)
Nemestrinidae (tangle-veined flies)
Phoridae (scuttle flies, coffin flies, humpbacked flies)
Opetiidae (flat-footed flies)
Ironomyiidae (ironic flies)
Lonchopteridae (spear-winged flies)
Platypezidae (flat-footed flies)
Pipunculidae (big-headed flies)
Conopidae (thick-headed flies)
Pallopteridae (flutter flies)
Piophilidae (cheese flies)
Platystomatidae (signal flies)
Tephritidae (peacock flies)
Ulidiidae (picture-winged flies)
Micropezidae (stilt-legged flies)
Neriidae (cactus flies, banana stalk flies)
Diopsidae (stalk-eyed flies)
Psilidae (rust flies)
Coelopidae (kelp flies)
Sepsidae (black scavenger flies)
Sciomyzidae (marsh flies)
Sphaeroceridae (small dung flies)
Celyphidae (beetle-backed flies)
Chamaemyiidae (aphid flies)
Agromyzidae (leaf miner flies)
Aulacigastridae (sap flies)
Clusiidae (lekking, or druid flies)
Neurochaetidae (upside-down flies)
Curtonotidae (quasimodo flies)
Diastatidae (bog flies)
Ephydridae (shore flies)
Drosophilidae (vinegar and fruit flies)
Braulidae (bee lice)
Canacidae (beach flies)
Chloropidae (frit flies)
Milichiidae (freeloader flies)
Lonchaeidae (lance flies)
Anthomyiidae (cabbage flies)
Fanniidae (little house flies)
Muscidae (house flies, stable flies)
Scathophagidae (dung flies)
Calliphoridae (blow-flies: bluebottles, greenbottles)
Mystacinobiidae (New Zealand batfly)
Sarcophagidae (flesh flies)
Tachinidae (tachina flies)
Glossinidae (tsetse flies)
Hippoboscidae (louse flies)
Mormotomyiidae (frightful hairy fly)
Nycteribiidae (bat flies)
Streblidae (bat flies)
Pantophthalmidae (timber flies)
Stratiomyidae (soldier flies)
Xylomyidae (wood soldier flies)
Rhagionidae (snipe flies)
Athericidae (water snipe flies)
Tabanidae (horse and deer flies)
Xylophagidae (awl flies)
List of families of Diptera
Fauna Europaea: 10966