Monday, May 7, 2012

Small Flies: Tephritidae

Tephritidae fruit fly

Tephritidae (fruit flies) are one of two fly families that is commonly referred to as "fruit flies". Tephritidae however, does not include the common fruit fly. There are almost 5,000 described species of the tephritidae fruit flies that are categorized in almost 500 genera.

The subfamilies of tephritidae are:
Blepharoneurinae (5 genera and 34 species)
Dacinae (41 genera and 1,066 species)
Phytalmiinae (95 genera and 331 species)
Tachiniscinae (8 genera and 18 species)
Tephritinae (211 genera and 1,859 species)
Trypetinae (118 genera and 1,012 species)

The fruit flies in the tephritidae family are sometimes referred to as peacock flies because of their elaborate and colourful markings.

They are also considered to be of major importance when it comes to agriculture, with both positive and negative impacts. Some of the negative effects include a variety of species that can cause damage to fruit and other plants. An example of this is the Bactrocera, which is part of the Dacinae subfamily. The bactrocera has worldwide notoriety because of the destruction it has on agriculture.

On a positive note, some fruit flies are used as agents of biological control, for reducing the population of various pest species.

Most of the fruit flies in this family lay their eggs in plant tissues because this is where the larvae will be able to easily find food when they are born. Adult flies have a short lifespan and some species will only live for a week or less. However, fruit flies are able to reproduce quickly and in large numbers (given the opportunity a fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs at a time), which means that getting a fruit fly infestation under control can be tricky.

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