|500 genera, about 5,000 species|
Tephritidae is one of two fly families referred to as "fruit flies", the other family being Drosophilidae. Tephritidae does not include the biological model organisms of the genus Drosophila (in the family Drosophilidae), which is often called the "common fruit fly". There are nearly 5,000 described species of tephritid fruit fly, categorized in almost 500 genera. Description, recategorization, and genetic analysis are constantly changing the taxonomy of this family. To distinguish them from the Drosophilidae, the Tephritidae are sometimes called peacock flies, in reference to their elaborate and colorful markings. The name comes from the Greek τεφρος, "tephros", meaning 'ash grey'.
Tephritid fruit flies are of major economic importance in agriculture. Some have negative effects, some positive. Various species of fruit fly cause damage to fruit and other plant crops. The genus Bactrocera is of worldwide notoriety for its destructive impact on agriculture. The olive fruit fly (B. oleae), for example, feeds on only one plant: the wild or commercially cultivated olive, Olea europaea. It has the capacity to ruin 100% of an olive crop by damaging the fruit.
On the other hand, some fruit flies are used as agents of biological control, thereby reducing the populations of pest species. Several species of the fruit fly genus Urophora are used as control agents against rangeland-destroying noxious weeds such as starthistles and knapweeds, but they are questionable in their effectiveness.
Most fruit flies lay their eggs in plant tissues, where the larvae find their first food upon emerging. The adults usually have a very short lifespan. Some live for less than a week.
The behavioral ecology of tephritid fruit flies is of great interest to biologists. Some fruit flies have extensive mating rituals or territorial displays. Many are brightly colored and visually showy. Some fruit flies show Batesian mimicry, bearing the colors and markings of dangerous insects such as wasps because it helps the fruit flies to avoid predation, even though the flies lack stingers.
Since tephritid fruit flies exist worldwide, there are vast networks of researchers, several international symposia, and intensive activities on various subject extending from ecology to molecular biology (Tephritid Workers Database).
The Tephritidae are grouped into several subfamilies:
- Blepharoneurinae (5 genera, 34 species)
- Dacinae (41 genera, 1066 species)
- Phytalmiinae (95 genera, 331 species)
- Tachiniscinae (8 genera, 18 species)
- Tephritinae (211 genera, 1859 species)
- Trypetinae (118 genera, 1012 species)
- Chaetostomella cylindrica
- Dean E. Pearson & Ragan M. Callaway (2008). "Weed-biocontrol insects reduce native-plant recruitment through second-order apparent competition" (PDF). Ecological Applications 18 (6): 1489–1500. doi:10.1890/07-1789.1. PMID 18767624.
- Allen L. Norrbom (April 30, 2004). "Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Phylogeny". The Diptera Site. Agricultural Research Service. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tephritidae.|
|Wikispecies has information related to: Tephritidae|
- Natural Enemies of True Fruit Flies (Tephritidae), USDA
- Fruit Fly Fact Sheet
- Tephritidae Information from the Diptera Site
- IPC-Fruit Flies webpage
- Pest Fruit Flies of the World
- Tephritid Workers Database
- Biological Control of Tephritidae