Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Ceratitis capitata - Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Mediterranean Fruit Fly - Ceratitis capitata Mediterranean Fruit Fly - Ceratitis capitata - male Ceratitis capitata - Mediterranean Fruit Fly??? - Ceratitis capitata - male Ceratitis capitata - Mediterranean Fruit Fly??? - Ceratitis capitata - male Male Mediterranean Fruit Fly? - Ceratitis capitata - male Rainbow-Eyed Fly - Ceratitis capitata Pretty sure this is Ceratitis capitata - Mediterranean Fruit Fly.....? - Ceratitis capitata - male Odd fly - Ceratitis capitata - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon ("Acalyptratae")
Superfamily Tephritoidea
Family Tephritidae (Fruit Flies)
Subfamily Dacinae (Tropical Fruit Flies)
Genus Ceratitis
Species capitata (Mediterranean Fruit Fly)
Other Common Names
Med Fly (or Medfly)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann, 1824)
Ceratitis citripeda Efflatoun, 1924
Pardalaspis asparagi Bezzi, 1924
Ceratitis hispanica Breme, 1842
Ceratitis citriperda Macleay, 1829
Tephritis capitata Wiedemann, 1824
Trypeta capitata (Wiedemann, 1824)
adult 4-5 mm, larva to ~8 mm
native to tropical e. Africa, adventive elsewhere, now spread throughout the world(1); in our area, infestations have been reported in FL, CA, and TX. Sterile males are being released in FL (from Miami to Palm Beach) as a prophylactic measure to prevent the establishment of a wild Medfly population.
larvae feed and develop on many deciduous, subtropical, and tropical fruits (citrus, peach, pear, apple) and some vegetables, sometimes tunneling through the pulp and eventually reducing it to a juicy inedible mass
One of the world's most destructive fruit pests, and the most economically important fruit fly species. Each infestation detected in FL and CA triggered massive eradication and detection effort. In CA, large numbers of sterile males are released and are not uncommon in some places. A female would be a sign of an infestation, and should be reported immediately. Females have a visible ovipositor on the rear tip of the abdomen and lack the ornamented hairs on the male head seen in the photo below.

These flies contain large amounts of nitrogen-fixing enterobacteria in the gut. Little research has been done on the nutritional contributions of this.
See Also
The Picture-winged Fly, Dyscrasis hendeli is very similar. (darker bands on the wings and a darker abdomen) - Family Ulidiidae - Picture-winged Flies
Internet References
Fact sheet by Thomas et al.[Cite:185010]
Works Cited
1.Alien terrestrial arthropods of Europe
Roques A., Kenis M., Lees D., Lopez-Vaamonde C., Rabitsch W., Rasplus J.-Y., Roy D., eds. 2010. BioRisk 4 Special Issue; 2 vols., 1028 pp.