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Species Page

West Indian fruit fly

Anastrepha obliqua
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). Find out more information on how to access the CPC.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Mangifera indica (mango)
Spondias (purple mombin)
Ziziphus joazeiro

List of symptoms / signs

Fruit - internal feeding


Attacked fruit can show signs of oviposition punctures, but these, or any other symptoms of damage, are often difficult to detect in the early stages of infestation. Much damage may occur inside the fruit before external symptoms are seen, often as networks of tunnels accompanied by rotting. Very sweet fruits may produce a sugary exudate.

Prevention and control

Control can be considerably aided by good cultural practices, for example, by gathering all fallen and infected host fruits and destroying them, and by the selection of suitable varieties (Jiron, 1996). Insecticidal protection is possible by using a cover spray or a bait spray. Malathion is the usual choice of insecticide for fruit fly control and this is usually combined with protein hydrolysate to form a bait spray (Roessler, 1989). Practical details are given by Bateman (1982). Bait sprays work on the principle that both male and female tephritids are strongly attracted to a protein source from which ammonia emanates. Bait sprays have the advantage over cover sprays that they can be applied as a spot treatment so that the flies are attracted to the insecticide and there is minimal impact on natural enemies. The use of natural plant substances, such as a leaf infusion of Piper auritum combined with gathering fallen fruit resulted in local eradication (Perales-Segovia et al., 1996).

Many baits have been evaluated including those based on yeasts (Fragenas et al., 1996), borated hydrolysed protein and yeast (Jiron and Soto-Manitiu, 1989), human urine (Hedstrom, 1988) and molasses (Hedstrom and Jiron, 1985). The longevity of some baits were compared by Malo (1992).

Phytosanitary Measures

Consignments of fruits of Citrus spp., mango [Mangifera indica] and guava [Psidium guajava] from countries where A. obliqua occurs should be inspected for symptoms of infestation. Those suspected should be cut open in order to look for larvae. For example, EPPO recommends (OEPP/EPPO, 1990) that such fruits should come from an area where A. obliqua does not occur or from a place of production found free from the pest by regular inspection for 3 months prior to harvest. Fruits may also be treated in transit by cold treatment (for example, 13, 15 or 17 days at 0.5, 1 or 1.5°C, respectively) or, for certain types of fruits, by vapour heat (for example, keeping at 43°C for 4-6 h) (USDA, 1994), or by hot water immersion (Nascimento et al., 1992; Thomas and Mangan, 1995) or forced hot air quarantine treatment (Mangan and Ingle, 1992).

Ethylene dibromide was previously widely used as a fumigant, but is now generally withdrawn because of its carcinogenicity.

Plants of host species transported with roots from countries where A. obliqua occurs should be free from soil, or the soil should be treated against puparia, and should not carry fruits. Importation of such plants may be prohibited.


Anastrepha spp. are the most serious fruit fly pests in the tropical Americas (Norrbom and Foote, 1989), with the possible exception of the introduced Ceratitis capitata (EPPO/CABI, 1996). A. obliqua is recorded from Citrus spp., but they are not important hosts (Enkerlin et al., 1989). It mainly attacks mangoes (Mangifera indica) and other Anacardiaceae (Whervin, 1974).