What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

Logo: What Bug Is That? Logo: Taxonomy Research & Information Network



Tephritids (Fruit flies) live in most vegetated habitats, providing that there are suitable host plants. Larvae of many species feed in soft fruits, and, as a result, several species are major economic pests of cultivated fruits; but the vast majority of fruit-eating species are restricted to native plants and are not pests. Numerous species of the subfamily Tephritinae are associated with daisy-like flowers (family Asteraceae - both native and introduced species) in both the adult and larval stages, but larvae of some of this group live in Goodeniaceae (native Australian plants) and some are gall-makers. Larvae of a few species live in rotting forest timber, sometimes in association with termites.


Tephritid flies are very diverse in appearance, but most species have at least some dark wing markings. They can be identified from the following features:

Postocellar bristles when present, usually divergent or subparallel; generally one or more reclinate orbital or frontal bristles; vibrissa absent; antenna usually with dorsal notch or short slit; pro-episternal bristle absent, but setation of thorax otherwise variable; prosternum generally without precoxal bridge; tibiae without a well differentiated pre-apical dorsal bristle; vein C generally with a break at humeral position, always one at subcostal position; vein Sc distally usually bent almost at right angles towards vein C and often weakly sclerotised beyond bend; vein R1 setulose dorsally; cells bm and cup closed; vein CuA2 (free transverse section) usually bent so that cell cup is produced into an acute lobe; vein A1+CuA2 sclerotised; in female, abdominal segment 7 enlarged and sclerotised all round to form sheath for retracted ovipositor (aculeus).


Tephritids have a worldwide distribution. There are 255 Australian species, many of which live in all Australian states. The family is represented mainly by species of the subfamily Tephritinae in cooler parts. The subfamily Dacinae is best represented in the tropics.

  • Tephritidae

  • Tephritidae

  • Bactrocera alyxiae

  • Tephritidae

  • Tephritidae

  • Tephritidae