Bactrocera oleae (olive fruit fly)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Bactrocera oleae Gmelin, 1790
Preferred Common Name
- olive fruit fly
Other Scientific Names
- Bactrocera (Daculus) oleae
- Daculus oleae (Gmelin)
- Dacus oleae (Gmelin)
- Musca oleae (Gmelin)
International Common Names
- English: fruit fly, olive; olive fly; olive fruit fly
- Spanish: mosca de las aceitunas; mosca del olivo; mosca olearia
- French: mouche de l'olive; mouche des olives; ver de l'olive
Local Common Names
- Germany: Fliege, Oliven-; Olivenfliege
- Israel: zvuv hazayit
- Italy: mosca delle olive
- Turkey: zeytin sinegi
- DACUOL (Bactrocera oleae)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Diptera
- Family: Tephritidae
- Genus: Bactrocera
- Species: Bactrocera oleae
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
This is the only species which definitely belongs to subgenus Bactrocera (Daculus), although Drew (1989) included it in B. (Polistomimetes) together with species which are here placed in B. (Tetradacus).
DescriptionTop of page
Adult description derived from computer generated description from White and Hancock (1997). Larval description based on Phillips (1946), and Kandybina (1977), as given in White and Elson-Harris (1994).
Pedicel + 1st flagellomere not longer than ptilinal suture. Face with a dark spot in each antennal furrow. Facial spot, round/elongate, small.
Predominant colour of scutum, orange-brown to black. Postpronotal (=humeral) lobe entirely pale (yellow or orange). Scutum without lateral and medial postsutural vittae (yellow/orange stripes). Scutellum with a deep basal band and often deepened to form a black triangle. Anepisternal stripe not reaching anterior notopleural seta. Yellow marking on hypopleural calli restricted to lower callus (katatergite) only. Postpronotal lobe (=humerus) without a seta. Scutum without anterior supra-alar setae and without prescutellar acrostichal setae. Scutellum without basal setae.
Length, 4.3-5.2 mm. Cells bc and c without extensive covering of microtrichia. Cell br (narrowed part) without extensive covering of microtrichia. Without a complete costal band; marked at end of R4+5 only; without an anal streak. Cells bc and c not coloured.
yellow / pale.
Predominant colour orange-brown to black. Tergites not fused. Abdomen not wasp waisted. Pattern on abdomen distinct; tergite 3 and 4, dark laterally. No medial longitudinal stripe on T4. Ceromata round/ovoid.
Terminalia and secondary sexual characters
Male wing without a bulla. Male tergite 3 with a pecten (setal comb) on each side. Surstylus (male) without a long posterior lobe. Wing (male) with a deep indent in posterior margin. Wing (male) with microtrichia area around cell cup. Hind tibia (male) with a preapical pad. Aculeus apex pointed.
Medium sized, length 6.5-7.0 mm; width 1.2-1.7 mm.
Head. Oral ridges in 10-12 shallow, short rows; mouthhooks heavily sclerotized, each with a short, slender, curved apical tooth.
Thoracic and abdominal segments. Anterior portion of T1-T3, A1 and A2 with 3-5 rows of small spinules encircling each segment; A3-A5 with a few spinules dorsally and a heavier concentration ventrally; A6-A8 with spinules ventrally, none dorsally and laterally; spinules in creeping welts smaller in central rows.
Anterior spiracles. 8-12 short tubules.
Posterior spiracles. Spiracular slits 3.5-4.0 times as long as broad, with a thick rima; spiracular hairs about half the length of a spiracular slit, frequently branched, dorsal and ventral bundles of 7 hairs, lateral bundles of 2-4 hairs.
Anal area. Lobes small, slightly protuberant, surrounded by several discontinuous rows of small spinules.
DistributionTop of page
B. oleae is found throughout the olive-growing zone of the Mediterranean. It is also found (on wild olives) in parts of eastern and southern Africa. The current distribution of the pest includes South and Central Africa, Pakistan, Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East and it has been introduced recently to California, USA, and Mexico (Nardi et al., 2005). B. oleae has been trapped in areas of wild olive in Réunion (White et al., 2000). It is not known if this is a recent introduction or if the flies have been there for a long time and have been overlooked.
The distribution map includes records based on specimens of B. oleae from the collection in the Natural History Museum (London, UK): dates of collection are noted in the list of countries (NHM, various dates).
Distribution TableTop of page
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|
|Algeria||Present||Gaouar and Debouzie (1995); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Angola||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)|
|Egypt||Present||Munro (1984); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Eritrea||Present||Munro (1984); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Ethiopia||Present||NHM (1975); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Kenya||Present||NHM (1991); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Libya||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)|
|Mauritius||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015)|
|Morocco||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Réunion||Present||NHM (1997); CABI and EPPO (2015)|
|Seychelles||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015)|
|South Africa||Present||Munro (1984); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Sudan||Present||White and Elson-Harris (1994); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Tunisia||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Armenia||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||EPPO (2020)|
|Azerbaijan||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)||EPPO (2020)|
|Georgia||Present||Kandybina (1977); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|India||Present, Localized||Kapoor (1993); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|-Jammu and Kashmir||Present||Shant (1999); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Iran||Present||Nouri (2007); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Israel||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)|
|Jordan||Present||Al-Zaghal and Mustafa (1987); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Lebanon||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Pakistan||Present||Kapoor (1993); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Saudi Arabia||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Syria||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Turkey||Present||Güusay et al. (1990); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Albania||Present||Hawkes et al. (2005); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Croatia||Present||Brnetic (1979); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Cyprus||Present, Widespread||NHM (1987); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|France||Present, Localized||Panis (1979); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|-Corsica||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Greece||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); NHM (1984); Fimiani (1989); EPPO (2020)|
|-Crete||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Italy||Present, Widespread||Fimiani (1989); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|-Sardinia||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|-Sicily||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Malta||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Montenegro||Present||Perović et al. (2007); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Portugal||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|-Azores||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Russia||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)||EPPO (2020)|
|Serbia||Present||Perović et al. (2007)|
|Slovenia||Present||Jančar (2003); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Spain||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); NHM (1987); EPPO (2020)|
|-Balearic Islands||Present||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|-Canary Islands||Present||Merz (1992); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Switzerland||Present||Merz (1994); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|Mexico||Present||Introduced||Nardi et al. (2005); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|United States||Present, Localized||CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
|-California||Present||Introduced||Rice et al. (2003); CABI and EPPO (2015); EPPO (2020)|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
B. oleae is not known to attack any fruits outside of the genus Olea and as such can only represent a threat to olive production. As all olive producing countries are already heavily infested by this species it does not represent a significant quarantine threat, although there is a very remote possibility that it may be able to develop on some other related fruits (the family Oleaceae is widespread and some other genera are hosts to specialist fruit flies).
HabitatTop of page Areas of cultivated or wild olives.
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
This species has a very narrow host range, being restricted to Olea spp. In Europe, it attacks cultivated olives but in Africa it is associated with wild olives.
In a study of host trees infested by B. oleae in California, USA, Athar (2005) noted that olives were the preferred host, but trees in the families Rosaceae, Rutaceae, Anacardiaceae, Fabaceae, Lythraceae and Malpighiaceae were also infested. The hosts were mainly fruit trees, with the exceptions of Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolia), carob (Ceratonia siliqua), crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) and ornamental plum (Prunus domestica).
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Olea europaea subsp. europaea (European olive)||Oleaceae||Main|
Growth StagesTop of page Fruiting stage
SymptomsTop of page Puncture marks and exit holes may be observed. Eggs are laid singly in a small chamber below the oviposition hole.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Fruit / internal feeding|
|Fruit / lesions: black or brown|
|Fruit / premature drop|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Eggs are laid below the skin of the host fruit; a female may lay more than 200 eggs but unlike most other Bactrocera spp. these are laid singly. Eggs hatch within 2-4 days and the larvae feed for another 10-14 days. Pupation is either in the soil under the host plant or, when fruits are attacked early in their development, in the fruit. Pupation takes about 10 days but may be delayed for several weeks under cool conditions. Adults occur throughout the year in Israel (Freidberg and Kugler, 1989) but only during the summer months in cooler areas so the number of generations may be from one to several, with winter passed during pupation. Adults mature after about a week, and may live 1-2 months; most data from Christenson and Foote (1960), Clausen (1978), Mazomenos (1989).
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|cricket paralysis virus||Pathogen|
|Eupelmus urozonus||Parasite||Larvae||Greece; Corfu||olives|
|Opius concolor||Parasite||Crete; France; Greece; Israel; Italy; Khalki; Mediterranean region; Sicily; Spain; Yugoslavia||olives|
|Pnigalio agraules||Parasite||Greece; Corfu||olives|
|Psyttalia concolor||Parasite||Larvae||Crete;France;Greece;Israel;Italy;Khalki;Mediterranean region;Sicily;Spain;Yugoslavia||olives|
|small RNA viruses||Pathogen|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
Clausen (1978) reviews numerous releases of parasitoids made against B. oleae, primarily in Italy, France and Greece, following extensive searches for parasitoids by P. Silvestri in the early years of this century. Most failed to establish, but Opius concolor has been shown to achieve considerable levels of control when regularly released. Greathead (1976) also reviews the natural enemies of B. oleae. Surveys for biological control agents were made in Africa where there is a greater range of species than in Europe, Supporting the view that the fly originated in Africa. The more important natural enemies were found both in Eritrea and in South Africa, suggesting that they are widespread on B. oleae breeding in wild Olea africana, presumably its original host plant.
Ranaldi and Santoni (1987) reviewed naturally occurring parasitoids in Italy with respect to their time of greatest impact, so as to permit integration with chemical control. However, none of these achieved significant levels of control.
Other sources of parasitoid data are: Mechelany (1969), Fenili and Pegazzano (1971), Arambourg and Pralavorio (1974), Viggiani et al. (1975), Monaco (1978), Bigler and Delucchi (1981), Neuenschwander (1982), Neuenschwander et al. (1983), Bigler et al. (1986) and Mustafa et al. (1987).
A source of virus data is Manousis and Moore (1987).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Adult flight and the transport of infected fruit are the major means of movement and dispersal to previously uninfected areas.
[Erratum: In previous versions of this datasheet, it was stated that “many Bactrocera spp. can fly 50-100 km (Fletcher, 1989)” but a review of Fletcher (1989a) and Fletcher (1989b) by Hicks et al. (2019) found no evidence to support this statement and it has been removed. Fletcher (1989b) provides dispersal data for only 11 of 651 species of Bactrocera, many of the case studies lack the necessary numerical data, and the study did not discern between active flight and passive wind-assisted dispersal. There are differences among fruit fly species and further studies are required to determine dispersal distances for individual species. For further information on trapping Bactrocera species to monitor movement, see Weldon et al. (2014).]
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility 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|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
|True seeds (inc. grain)|
ImpactTop of page
DiagnosisTop of page
This is the only fruit fly likely to be reared from cultivated olives (a few other species of restricted range in Africa and Australia have been reared and these were listed by White and Elson-Harris, 1994). Features to check are the lack of any bright yellow/orange stripes (vittae) laterally on the scutum and the wing markings, which are reduced to an apical dark spot (plus dark cell sc).
This species is not attracted to either cue lure or methyl eugenol.
Diagnosis (minimum characters to differentiate from most other Bactrocera and Dacus spp., from White and Hancock, 1997)
Face with a dark spot in each antennal furrow. Scutum without a medial vitta; without lateral postsutural vittae; without anterior supra-alar setae. Scutellum without basal setae. Wing pattern reduced, costal band reduced to an apical spot. Cell br (narrowed part) without extensive covering of microtrichia. Tergite 3 with dark lateral markings. Male tergite 3 with a pecten (setal comb) on each side.
Detection and InspectionTop of page
B. oleae does not respond to standard fruit fly male lures. Field monitoring must therefore be by sampling susceptible fruits for larvae, or by trapping of adults. Adults may be caught in protein bait traps (see Control) and they are also attracted to the colour yellow (Economopoulos, 1989; Katsoyannos, 1989).
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
B. oleae is the only species in subgenus Daculus and as such has no immediate relatives.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
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.
ReferencesTop of page
Andrés FDe, 1991. Olive Diseases and Pests, 4th ed (Enfermedades y Plagas del olivo, 4ª ed. Riquelme y Vargas Ediciones). Jaén, Spain
Armstrong JW, Couey HM, 1989. Control; fruit disinfestation; fumigation, heat and cold. In: Robinson AS, Hooper G, eds. Fruit Flies; their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, 3(B):411-424
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Bigler F, Delucchi V, 1981. Evaluation of the prepupal mortality of the olive fly, Dacus oleae Gmel. (Dipt., Tephritidae), on oleasters and olive trees in western Crete, Greece. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie, 92(2):189-201
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ContributorsTop of page
29/09/14 updated by:
K Varikou, Institute for Olive tree and Subtropical Plants, Crete, Greece
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