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male Mediterranean fruit-fly, Ceratitis capitata, resting on leaf (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Fruchtfliegen
• English: fruit flies
• Español: tripétidas
• Français: téphritidés

Tephritidae (fruit flies)

This is a large family of flies which infest fruit trees and other plant parts. The species often have elaborate colour patterns on their wings and body. Typically, they are about the size of house flies. The females lay their eggs inside the ripening fruits using a long, telescopic ovipositor. The larvae develop inside the fruit and once mature leave the fruit to pupate in the ground.

Many species are economically very important, due to their potential to damage fruits and because they prevent the export of fruits for quarantine reasons. Fruits commonly attacked by fruit flies include citrus, mangoes, peaches, cherries and apples. Important pest species belong to the genera of Anastrepha, Bactrocera, Ceratitis, Dacus and Rhagoletis.

For identification keys for the genera and species of pest fruit flies see Carroll et al. (an add-on needs to be installed on your computer).

The family also includes a number of beneficial species which have been used as biological control agents against weeds, see Tephritidae (weed bioagents).


The following genera and individual species are currently entered under Tephritidae: