Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Pepper fruit fly (416)

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  • Worldwide. In Australia and most Pacific island countries.
  • Minor pest of brassica, cucurbit, legume, potato, grass families. Also breeds in decaying organic matter. Major hosts: beans, cabbages, cauliflowers, melon, orange, sorghum (causes ‘deadhearts’), and tomato.
  • Maggots do the damage, but presence does not mean they are the cause.
  • Eggs laid under calyx of fruit, in cracks, grooves, or rots caused by physical damage and those of other insects. Maggots white, 4-6 mm long. Pupae dark orange-red. Adults yellowish-grey fly, squarish head, up to 4 mm long, wingspan 3 mm, dark thorax and yellow abdomen.
  • Natural enemies: pupal parasitoids.
  • Biosecurity: regulated pest in New Zealand.
  • Cultural control: avoid use of chicken manure as flies may use it to breed.
  • Chemical control: not recommended, but if needed use neem.
Common Name

Pepper fruit fly; it is also known as the tomato fruit fly.

Scientific Name

Atherigona orientalis

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from CABI (2017) Atherigona orientalis (pepper fruit fly) Crop Protection Compendium. (; and from Hibbard KL et al. (2012) Pepper Fruit Fly Atherigona orientalis (Schiner) (Insecta: Diptera: Muscidae). Entomology and Nematology Department, Featured Creatures. UF/IFAS, University of Florida. ( Photos 1-3 MAF Plant Health & Environment Laboratory (2011) Pepper Fruit Fly (Atherigona orientalis). PaDIL -

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/185: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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