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Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Biology
Fruit fly biology is an extensive topic. Details on many aspects may be found in publications such as Christenson & Foote (1960), Bateman (1972), Boller &Prokopy (1976), Prokopy (1977), Zwölfer (1983), Cavalloro (1983, 1986, 1989), Freidberg (1984), Mangel et al. (1986), Economopoulos (1987), Fletcher (1987), Robinson & Hooper (1989), Vijaysegaran & Ibrahim (1991), Aluja & Liedo (1993), Aluja (1994), Piedade-Guerreiro (1994), Calkins, Klassen & Liedo (1994), McPheron & Steck (1996), and Aluja & Norrbom (1999). Also see Behavior, Host Plants, and Parasites & Predators.
Most fruit flies breed within living plant tissues. Exceptions include the Tachiniscinae (the only reared species is a moth parasitoid), most Phytalmiinae (saprophages, although many species breed in damaged or recently dead tissues of limited ranges of plants), and several species predaceous within galls. The larvae of the phytophagous species may feed inside fruits, seeds, galls, leaf or stem mines, or flowers. Adult fruit flies usually feed only on liquids (sap, honeydew, droppings) or microorganisms, although adults of Blepharoneura and related genera have spines on their labella and are able to rasp and feed on plant tissues. Tephritids attack a broad range of plant families, although the host specificity of individual species varies greatly, and most are restricted to a few related or even single species of hosts.
The tephritid life cycle includes the following stages: egg, three larval instars, pupa (formed inside the hardened third stage larval cuticle, or puparium), and adult. Species may be uni- or multivoltine. Carey (1989) reviewed demographic analysis of fruit flies. In some species, the adult lifespan may be as brief as one or two weeks (Steck 1981), but in others females are capable of surviving for long periods (e.g., up to 12 months in Anastrepha ludens (Shaw et al. 1967)). Diapause is common, especially in temperate species, and in some species of Rhagoletis it may last two or more years (Christenson & Foote 1960).
See the Fruit Fly Bibliography Database for full information for cited references.
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Content by Allen L. Norrbom. Last Updated: November 10, 2004.