Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Ceratitis cosyra
(mango fruit fly)



Ceratitis cosyra (mango fruit fly)


  • Last modified
  • 19 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Ceratitis cosyra
  • Preferred Common Name
  • mango fruit fly
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Ceratitis cosyra (Walker)

Preferred Common Name

  • mango fruit fly

Other Scientific Names

  • Ceratitis giffardi Bezzi
  • Pardalaspis cosyra (Walker)
  • Pardalaspis giffardi (Bezzi)
  • Pardalaspis giffardi var. sarcocephali Bezzi
  • Pardalaspis parinarii Hering
  • Pardalaspis sarcocephali (Bezzi)
  • Trypeta cosyra Walker

International Common Names

  • English: fruit fly, mango; marula fly; marula fruit fly

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Fruchtfliege, Natal-

EPPO code

  • CERTCO (Ceratitis cosyra)
  • CERTGI (Ceratitis giffardi)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Diptera
  •                         Family: Tephritidae
  •                             Genus: Ceratitis
  •                                 Species: Ceratitis cosyra

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

Top of page C. cosyra belongs to subgenus Ceratalaspis and its name may therefore be cited as Ceratitis (Ceratalaspis) cosyra (Walker). De Meyer (1998) expressed an opinion that West African populations, normally referred to as C. giffardi, should be regarded as mere geographic variants of C. cosyra, and consequently C. giffardi is here regarded as a synonym of C. cosyra.


Top of page Adult

The genus Ceratitis belongs to the family Tephritidae, which is part of the superfamily Tephritoidea. In common with most species of Tephritoidea it has patterned wings, and the female has a long telescopic and pointed ovipositor; these features are rarely known outside the Tephritoidea. The family Tephritidae may also be separated from all other Diptera by the shape of the subcostal vein, which bends abruptly through a right-angle and fades to a fold before reaching the wing edge, combined with the presence of setulae on the dorsal side of wing vein R1.

The genus Ceratitis, in common with species of Neoceratitis and Trirhithrum, some of which also attack commercial fruits in Africa, has a wing pattern consisting of a short costal band, a preapical crossband and a discal crossband, together with a pattern of spots and fleck-shaped dark markings in the basal cells. Cells bm and bcu are of similar depth and the extension of cell bcu (=cup) is short and swollen along its anterior edge. A diagnostic key is provided in this compendium to separate the pest genera of Tephritidae.

Trapped material is likely to include non-pest species and in that instance identification to species is a specialist task using the key provided by De Meyer (1998). Identification of specimens reared from commercial hosts, in which a limited range of species may be expected, can be carried out using the key provided. The following diagnosis will separate C. cosyra from most other common species in the genus:

Scutum predominantly yellow and wing patterned with yellow crossbands; scutellum with three large and separate apical dark marks; wing with costal band and discal crossbands separate, and costal band starting beyond end of vein R1; anepisternum with 1 seta. Males without apically expanded orbital setae or midleg feathering.


A detailed description was presented by Kandybina (1977) but those data are unlikely to be sufficient for reliable diagnosis as no comparative study of the larvae of the genus has been carried out.


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De Meyer (1998) also listed records from Ghana, Guinea (Conakry), Uganda and Zambia, none of which could be confirmed by his examination of voucher specimens. However, a more extensive survey will probably show that this species is present in all sub-Saharan African countries in which suitable hosts are grown, for example, Javaid (1986) indicated its importance in Zambia.

C. cosyra has been reported in Kaoma, Western Province, and Chilanga-Lusaka, Zambia during a surveillance programme by ICIPE and APHIS (A Sakala, Plant Quarantine Service, Zambia: identification by Marc De Meyer, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 23 Apr 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


AngolaPresent, LocalizedCABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
BeninPresent, LocalizedEPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
BotswanaPresent, Localizedde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
Burkina FasoPresent, Localizedde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
CameroonPresentSteck et al. (1986); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
Central African RepublicPresent, Localizedde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
ComorosAbsent, Invalid presence record(s)CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentde Meyer (1998); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
Côte d'IvoirePresentCABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
GhanaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
GuineaPresent, Localizedde Meyer (1998); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
KenyaPresentde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
MadagascarPresentde Meyer (1998); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
MalawiPresentde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
MaliPresent, Localizedde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); Vayssières et al. (2004); EPPO (2020)
MozambiquePresentde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
NigeriaPresent, Localizedde Meyer (1998); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
Saint HelenaAbsent, Intercepted onlyCABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
SenegalPresent, Localizedde Meyer (1998); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
SeychellesAbsent, Invalid presence record(s)CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
Sierra LeonePresent, Localizedde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
South AfricaPresent, Widespreadde Meyer (1998); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
SudanPresentCABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
TanzaniaPresentde Meyer (1998); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
TogoPresentde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
UgandaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)
ZambiaPresentJavaid (1986); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)
ZimbabwePresent, Localizedde Meyer (1998); CABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)


BelgiumAbsent, Intercepted onlyEPPO (2020)


New ZealandAbsent, Never occurredCABI and EPPO (1999); EPPO (2020)

Risk of Introduction

Top of page C. cosyra poses a phytosanitary risk to other countries with a suitable tropical climate and suitable hosts crops, particularly mango.

Habitat List

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Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page The principle host of C. cosyra is maroola plum (Sclerocarya birrea) but it will also heavily attack mango (Mangifera indica); there are records from several other fruit crops including guava (Psidium guajava), citrus, early peaches (Prunus persica), avocado (Persea americana) and wild hosts belonging to a wide range of families. Tabulated hosts are all taken from the list of confirmed hosts provided by De Meyer (1998); other host records should be disregarded pending confirmation.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Growth Stages

Top of page Fruiting stage


Top of page Attacked fruit usually shows signs of oviposition punctures around which necrosis may occur.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / discoloration
Fruit / extensive mould
Fruit / gummosis
Fruit / internal feeding
Fruit / lesions: black or brown
Fruit / lesions: scab or pitting
Fruit / obvious exit hole
Fruit / odour
Fruit / ooze

Biology and Ecology

Top of page Few specific details are known. Mature females of Ceratitis oviposit into fruit, usually at the start of ripening (this may vary with fly or host species); there are three larval instars and they develop over a period of about 1 week (Grove et al., 1997); final instar larvae of Ceratitis drop to the ground, find a crack to drop into, and then form a puparium (hardened larvae skin) within which pupation takes place; pupariation lasts 10-12 days (Silvestri, 1913); adults may be expected to emerge after 1-2 weeks; adults of known species of Ceratitis are long lived (2-3 months) and so several generations must be completed in each year.

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Opius cosyrae Parasite Larvae
Opius perproximus Parasite Larvae

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page The parasitoids of African fruit flies are little known.

Means of Movement and Dispersal

Top of page Adult flight and the transport of infested fruits are the major means of movement and dispersal to previously uninfested areas.

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
AircraftCarrying cargo Yes
Clothing, footwear and possessionsCases or bags Yes
Containers and packaging - woodOf fruit cargo Yes
Land vehiclesLorries carrying cargo Yes
MailFruit in post Yes
Ship structures above the water lineCarrying cargo Yes
Soil, sand and gravelRisk of puparia in soil Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Fruits (inc. pods) eggs; larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Growing medium accompanying plants pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
True seeds (inc. grain)


Top of page C. cosyra is recorded from a limited range of plants, but it is the major fruit fly pest of mangoes in Kenya (Malio, 1979), Zambia (Javaid, 1986), Zimbabwe (Rendell et al., 1995) and some areas of South Africa (Labuschagne et al., 1996). Conversely, in Cote d'Ivoire it was the major pest of guava (N'Guetta, 1994).


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EPPO (2011) have published a diagnostic protocol for C. cosyra.

Detection and Inspection

Top of page Males are sometimes attracted to traps baited with terpineol acetate (Hancock, 1987). Both sexes may be monitored using protein bait traps (either protein hydrolysate or protein autolysate) but these traps also collect large numbers of non-target insects; see Drew (1982) for further details.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page C. cosyra is only likely to be confused with C. discussa. Reliable separation is a specialist task (see De Meyer, 1998, for details). However, most specimens can be separated by the colour of the basal scutellar spots (yellowish in C. discussa and black in C. cosyra).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

When detected, it is important to gather all fallen and infected host fruits, and destroy them. Baited traps should be used to monitor population size and spread continuously. Insecticide protection is possible by using a cover or 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.

A considerable body of research is now available on the post-harvest control of C. cosyra. Grove et al. (1998) found that C. cosyra larvae were more heat tolerant than those of C. capitata or C. rosa but 98.7% mortality followed 70 minutes hydro-heating at 46.1-46.7°C. Steyn and Grove (1999) experimented with cold storage and found that 3 weeks storage at 7.5°C or less killed all larvae.


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Bateman MA, 1982. III. Chemical methods for suppression or eradication of fruit fly populations, In: Drew RAI, Hooper GHS, Bateman MA eds. Economic Fruit Flies of the South Pacific Region. 2nd edn. Brisbane, Australia: Queensland Department of Primary Industries, 115-128.

CABI/EPPO, 1998. Distribution maps of quarantine pests for Europe (edited by Smith IM, Charles LMF). Wallingford, UK: CAB International, xviii + 768 pp.

CABI; EPPO, 1999. Ceratitis cosyra. [Distribution map]. Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, June. Wallingford, UK: CAB International, Map 592.

de Meyer M, 1998. Revision of the subgenus Ceratitis (Ceratalaspis) Hancock (Diptera: Tephritidae. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 88:257-290.

Drew RAI, 1982. Fruit fly collecting. In: Drew RAI, Hooper GHS, Bateman MA, eds. Economic Fruit Flies of the South Pacific Region, 2nd edition. Brisbane, Australia: Queensland Department of Primary Industries, 129-139.

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization, 2011. Diagnostics: Ceratitis cosyra. Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin, 41(3):347-351.

Grove T; Steyn WP; de Beer MS, 1997. Vrugtevliegontwikkeling in verskillende mangokultivars. Yearbook South African Mango Growers' Association, 17:126-130.

Grove T; Steyn WP; de Beer MS, 1998. Warm water behandeling as 'n kwarantynmaatreel vir vrugtevliegbesmette mango's. Yearbook South African Mango Growers' Association, 18:23-25.

Hancock DL, 1987. Notes on some African Ceratitinp (Diptera: Tephritidae), with special reference to the Zimbabwean fauna. Transactions of the Zimbabwe Scientific Association, 63(6):47-57

Javaid I, 1986. Causes of damage to some wild mango fruit trees in Zambia. International Pest Control, 28(4):98-99

Kandybina MN, 1977. The larvae of fruit-flies (Diptera, Tephritidae). Keys to the fauna of the USSR No.114. Lichinki plodovykh mykh-pestrokrylok (Diptera, Tephritidae). Opredeliteli po faune SSSR 114. Leningrad, USSR: Nauka, 212 pp.

Labuschagne T; Brink T; Steyn WP; Beer MSde, 1996. Fruit flies attacking mangoes - their importance and post harvest control. Yearbook - South African Mango Growers' Association, 16:17-19; 5 ref.

Malio E, 1979. Observations on the mango fruit fly Ceratitis cosyra in the Coast Province, Kenya. Kenya Entomologist's Newsletter, No. 10:7

N'Guetta K, 1994. Inventory of insect fruit pests in northern Cote d'Ivoire. Fruits (Paris), 49(5/6):430-431, 502-503

Rendell CH; Mwashayenyi E; Banga DJ, 1995. The mango fruit fly: population and varietal susceptibility studies. Zimbabwe Science News, 29(1):12-14; 2 ref.

Roessler Y, 1989. Control; insecticides; insecticidal bait and cover sprays. In: Robinson AS, Hooper G, eds. Fruit Flies. Their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests 3(B). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, 329-336.

Sewoosunkur Gopaul; Zenz N; Price N, 2000. Local production of protein bait for fruit fly monitoring and control. In: Proceedings of the Indian Ocean Commission, Regional Fruit Fly Symposium, Flic en Flac, Mauritius, 5th-9th June, 2000 [ed. by Price, N. S.\Seewooruthun, I.]. Quatre Bornes, Mauritius: Indian Ocean Commission, 41-47.

Silvestri F, 1913. Viaggio in Africa per cercare parassiti di mosche dei frutti. Bolletino del Laboratorio di Zoologia Generale e Agraria della R. Scuola Superiore d'Agricoltura, Portici, 8:1-164.

Steck GJ; Gilstrap FE; Wharton RA; Hart WG, 1986. Braconid parasitoids of Tephritidae (Diptera) infesting coffee and other fruits in West-Central Africa. Entomophaga, 31(1):59-67

Steyn W; GrovT T, 1999. Cold storage destroys fruit flies. Neltropika Bulletin, No. 303:19-20.

Vayssières JF; Kalabane S, 2000. Inventory and fluctuations of the catches of Diptera Tephritidae associated with mangoes in Coastal Guinea. Fruits (Paris), 55(4):259-270.

Vayssières JF; Wharton R; Delvare G; Sanogo F, 2004. Diversity and pest control potential of hymenopteran parasitoids of Ceratitis spp. on mangos in Mali. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on fruit flies of economic importance, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 6-10 May 2002 [ed. by Barnes, B. N.]. Irene, South Africa: Isteg Scientific Publications, 461-464.

Distribution Maps

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