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General Information

Common name: Fruit fly


Oriental fruit fly is found in Asia (most common in India and China) Hawaii, Guam, and California
Med fly is found in the tropics and subtropics; Africa, South and Central America, and Hawaii
Melon fly is found in India, Southeast Asia, the Mariana Islands, Hawaii, and Africa


Thin-skinned, ripe, succulent and fleshy fruits


Adults and larvae-maggots cause fruit damage. Egg-laying females puncture the fruits leaving scars and holes on the fruit surface. Larval feeding causes premature fruit drop and destroys the pulps of the fruit. The fruit eventually rots making it unsuitable for harvesting and human consumption. n


  1. Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) The adult Oriental fruit fly is somewhat larger than a housefly, about 8 mm in length. The body color is generally bright-yellow with a dark T-shaped marking on the abdomen. The wings are transparent. The female has a pointed slender ovipositor use to deposit eggs under the skin of host fruit. Eggs are minute cylinders laid in batches. This adult fruit fly attacks fruits in the topics.

  2. Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) The adult Medfly is slightly smaller than a common housefly and is very colorful. It has dark-blue eyes, a shiny-black back, and a yellowish abdomen with silvery cross bands. Its wings, normally drooping, display a blotchy pattern with yellow, brown, and black spots and bands. This adult Medfly attacks all fruits and it is the most widespread and destructive.

  3. Melon fly (Bactrocera cucurbitae, Dacus cucurbitae) The adult fly is 6-8 mm in length. Distinctive characteristics of the adult are the wing patterns and long third antennal segment. The back of the thorax is reddish-yellow with light-yellow markings and without black markings. Its head is yellowish with black spots. Soon after emergence, the Melon fly begins looking for food. The adults are capable of very long flights and can fly as far as 30-60 km. The melon fly is rated as one of the world's most serious pests and the most important pest of vegetables especially melons and squashes.

The morphology of the various fruit fly species is similar.

Eggs of fruits flies are small, white, and slender. These are laid, or inserted into fruit in groups of up to 37 eggs. They hatch within 2-4 days.

Larvae are cylindrical, elongate, narrowed, and somewhat curved downward with their mouth hooks at the head. The larvae live and tunnel through the fruit, feed on the pulp, and continue feeding inside the fruit. They jump rather than crawl. When the larvae are ready to pupate, they emerge from the fruit and drop to the ground.

Pupae occur in the soil beneath the host plant. The pupal stage lasts for about 10 days.

Adult fruit flies are very small insects which lay their eggs in various plant tissues. Wide heads, black or steely green or blue bodies, bright greenish to bluish eyes, and wings that are usually mottled brown or black, characterize the Tephritidae. The Drosophilidae are yellowish and in the wild are largely found around decaying vegetation. The larvae living in fruit feed on the yeasts growing in the fruit. A female adult lays eggs in groups within the fruit and may lay as many as 1,200 eggs in her lifetime. The average life span of the adult is about 30 days. The life cycle of the fruit fly ranges from 12-28 days depending on the climatic condition. In countries with high temperatures, its life cycle is 12 days and longer in areas with cool weather.
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