African Fig Fly

This handsome orange fruit fly (or vinegar fly) with its distinctive white “racing stripes” is the African fig fly, Zaprionus indianus. This invasive and destructive species has made its way from its native west Africa through much of India, Europe, and South America, arriving in Florida in 2005.

The females lay eggs in overripe fruit, often but not limited to figs. They also enjoy grapes, tomatoes, and other soft fruit. They generally oviposit inside softer, or ruined, fruit because they do not have the sharp, serrated ovipositor that other fruit flies have. However, they have been recorded following along behind the spotted-wing drosophila fly (Drosophila suzukii), which can pierce harder fruit, and leaving their eggs near the holes the other species makes.

Each year during warmer weather, they slowly expand their range north from the southern U.S., and each winter the cold kills them off, so they have to re-start their expansion every year.

Identified via iNaturalist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *