Rhagoletis cingulata (cherry fruit fly)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Wood Packaging
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- 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
- Rhagoletis cingulata (Loew)
Preferred Common Name
- cherry fruit fly
Other Scientific Names
- Trypeta (Rhagoletis) cingulata Loew
- Trypeta cingulata Loew
International Common Names
- French: mouche des cerises; trypete des cerises
Local Common Names
- North America: cherry maggot; eastern cherry fruit fly; whitebanded cherry fruit fly
- RHAGCI (Rhagoletis cingulata)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
R. cingulata (listed on EPPO A2 list) is a severe pest of cherries. It is closely connected to its host plants Prunus avium, P. cerasi, P. serotina, P. mahaleb and P. emarginata. Prunus mahaleb is native in warm locations of Southern and Central Europe. It is used as rootstock for tart cherries and as ornamental plant. In Germany R. cingulata appears 3-4 weeks later than the native species R. cerasi, and due to this attacks late cherry varieties, mainly tart cherries, e.g. the economic important variety “Schattenmorellen”. This has been proven by fruit samples, from which pupae were obtained and in the following year R. cingulata adults emerged (species confirmed by Dr. Allen Norrbom, Systematic Entomology Laboratory, USDA). Infestation levels in tart cherries amounted to more than 20%.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Diptera
- Family: Tephritidae
- Genus: Rhagoletis
- Species: Rhagoletis cingulata
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
Prior to the work of Bush (1966)R. cingulata and R. indifferens were generally considered as a single species.
DescriptionTop of page
Specimens should be carefully examined for the wing pattern.
Diagnostic features of the genus are as follows (characters extracted from key to North American genera of Tephritidae by Foote et al., 1993): Head with two pairs orbital setae; posterior pair reclinate. Gena with only short anterior setae. First flagellomere (third antennal segment) at least slightly pointed at the apex. Thorax with dorsocentral setae closer to level of anterior supra-alar setae than transverse suture. Scutellum not swollen or shiny. Wing with cells bm and bcu of similar depth; bcu with a short acute extension. Crossvein R-M near middle of cell dm.
This species may be identified using the Diptera key in the Crop Protection Compendium taxonomic identification aid. For full details of its separation from other North American species, see Foote et al. (1993).
The main features of the R. cingulata species complex (which also includes R. indifferens) are as follows: thorax and abdomen predominantly black. Scutellum base black. Apical band of wing forked, or upper arm of fork separated by clear area, leaving isolated dark spot at wing-tip.
In general, R. cingulata and R. indifferens are most easily separated by their location, with R. cingulata being eastern North American and R. indifferens being western North American, but there is a slight overlap in the distributions (see Distribution Section). In general, R. cingulata differs from R. indifferens as follows: R. cingulata has fore coxa yellow, anterior apical crossband on wing often reduced to an isolated spot (the stipple in the drawing shows possible joined condition); R. indifferens has fore coxa shaded black on posterior surface, anterior apical crossband rarely reduced to an isolated spot. See also Carroll et al. (2002).
Diagnosis of genus by Elson-Harris (White and Elson-Harris, 1994): Antennal sensory organ with a short basal segment and cone-shaped distal segment; maxillary sensory organ flat, with well defined sensilla surrounded by small cuticular folds; stomal sensory organ rounded, with a peg-like sensilla; large, preoral teeth near base of stomal sensory organ; no preoral lobes; oral ridges in 5-13 short, unserrated rows; no accessory plates. Stout spinules forming discontinuous rows on almost all segments. Anterior spiracles with 7-35 stout tubules. Posterior spiracular slits 3-8 times as long as broad, with 3-16 short, branched spiracular hairs. Anal lobes large, protuberant with well defined tubercles and sensilla.
An updated description of the larva of this species can be found in Carroll et al. (2004). Any Rhagoletis larvae found in cherry and having the following feature is likely to be this species: at least 21 tubules in each anterior spiracle. See the key to larvae in White and Elson-Harris (1994), which used a combination of host and fragmentary morphological data.
DistributionTop of page
R. cingulata is an eastern North American species. Western records of this species were mostly based on misidentifications of R. indifferens. However, there is a small overlap as R. cingulata is known from Arizona, and R. indifferens is found to its east in New Mexico (see map in Foote et al., 1993).
Data from Harris (1989) and Foote et al. (1993) were extracted from distribution maps which were in some cases difficult to interpret. The following records quoted by CIE (1990), as derived from Harris (1989), appear to have been based on misinterpretations of Harris' map and are not accepted here: USA (Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont) and Canada (Nova Scotia). A record for Nebraska (CIE, 1990) also could not be confirmed from a reliable source.
A record for Nova Scotia published in previous versions of the Compendium was erroneous. This species has never been reported from Nova Scotia (CFIA, personal communication, 2015).
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: 30 Jun 2021
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Austria||Present, Few occurrences|
|Belgium||Present, Few occurrences|
|Czechia||Present, Few occurrences|
|France||Present, Few occurrences|
|Germany||Present, Localized||Introduced||1999||Invasive||Species has been detected in nearly all cherry-growing regions of Germany.|
|Italy||Present, Few occurrences|
|Montenegro||Absent, Intercepted only|
|United Kingdom||Absent, Confirmed absent by survey|
|-Manitoba||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)|
|-New Brunswick||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|-Newfoundland and Labrador||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|-Nova Scotia||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)|
|-Prince Edward Island||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|United States||Present, Localized|
|-Alabama||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|-Arkansas||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|-Connecticut||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Delaware||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)|
|-District of Columbia||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Illinois||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Indiana||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Louisiana||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Maine||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)|
|-Maryland||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Massachusetts||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Mississippi||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Nebraska||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|-New Hampshire||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)|
|-New Jersey||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-New York||Present, Widespread||Native|
|-Ohio||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Pennsylvania||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-South Carolina||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|-Tennessee||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Texas||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-Vermont||Absent, Invalid presence record(s)|
|-Virginia||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|-West Virginia||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)|
|-Wisconsin||Present, Few occurrences||Native|
|New Zealand||Absent, Confirmed absent by survey|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
In Germany it is not known when R. cingulata was introduced. It may be connected with the introduction of its native host Prunus serotina in Europe in the early seventeenth century.
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
R. cingulata is an important quarantine pest for temperate regions. For example, the EPPO A2 list includes R. cingulata.
HabitatTop of page
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial||Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial||Managed||Rail / roadsides||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Terrestrial||Natural / Semi-natural||Natural forests||Present, no further details||Natural|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Prunus avium (sweet cherry)||Rosaceae||Main|
|Prunus cerasus (sour cherry)||Rosaceae||Main|
|Prunus mahaleb (mahaleb cherry)||Rosaceae||Other|
|Prunus serotina (black cherry)||Rosaceae||Main|
|Prunus serotina subsp. virens||Unknown|
|Prunus virginiana (common chokecherrytree)||Rosaceae||Other|
Growth StagesTop of page
SymptomsTop of page
Attacked fruit will be pitted by oviposition punctures, around which some discoloration usually occurs. Infested fruits appear normal until the maggot is nearly full-grown, at which time sunken spots appear. Maggots and their frass inside the cherry render the fruit unsalable. Infested fruits are more susceptible to fungi. The third larval instar forms one to three holes (about 1 mm in diameter) through the skin of the cherry, before it leaves it for pupation in the soil (Frick et al., 1954).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|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 EcologyTop of page
Most Rhagoletis species have a similar biology, as detailed by Christenson and Foote (1960) and by Frick et al. (1954) for R. cinguluta: eggs are laid below the skin of the host fruit and hatch after 3-7 days; the larvae usually feed for 2-5 weeks; pupariation is in the soil under the host plant and this is the normal overwintering stage; adults may live for up to 40 days under field conditions. In Pennsylvania, adults emerge in June (Jubb and Cox, 1974). The flight period varies in dependence with the habitat (Teixeira et al., 2007).
ClimateTop of page
|C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate||Preferred||Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C|
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Preferred||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Adult flight and the transport of infected fruits are the major means of movement and dispersal to previously uninfected areas. In general, Rhagoletis species are not known to fly more than a short distance. In international trade, the major means of dispersal to previously uninfested areas is the transport of fruits containing live larvae. There is also a risk from the transport of puparia in soil or packaging with plants which have already fruited.
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Forestry||Via its host plant P. serotina||Yes||Yes|
|Garden waste disposal||Infested fruits||Yes|
|Hedges and windbreaks||Can serve as a reservoir from which dispersal can occur||Yes|
|Hitchhiker||Infested fruits, pupae in transportation units||Yes||Yes|
|Horticulture||Infested fruits, can serve as a reservoir from which dispersal can occur||Yes||Yes|
|Ornamental purposes||Host plants as ornamentals||Yes|
|People sharing resources||Infested fruits, pupae in transportation units||Yes|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Clothing, footwear and possessions||Fruit in case or handbag.||Yes|
|Consumables||Larvae in fruits might be overlooked when infestation level is low||Yes||Yes|
|Containers and packaging - non-wood||Larvae might be overlooked when infestation level is low||Yes||Yes|
|Containers and packaging - wood||Of fruit cargo.||Yes|
|Debris and waste associated with human activities||Infested fruits||Yes|
|Land vehicles||Lorries, aeroplanes and perhaps ships, with fruit cargo.||Yes|
|Fruit in post.||Yes|
|Soil, sand and gravel||Risk of puparia in soil.||Yes|
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)|
Wood PackagingTop of page
|Wood Packaging liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Timber type||Used as packing|
|Non-wood||Plastic transport boxes for fruit||Yes|
Impact SummaryTop of page
ImpactTop of page
R. cingulata is an important pest of cherries in eastern North America. In Europe, where it is found in cherry growing regions, it attacks late cherry varities, often tart cherries.
Economic ImpactTop of page
R. cingulata is a severe pest of cherries. In Europe, due to its 3 to 4 week later appearance compared to the European species R. cerasi, late cherry varieties are attacked. To date, these are mainly tart cherries, e.g. the economically important variety “Schattenmorellen”. This is of importance as the native species (R. cerasi) is not an important pest of these sour cherries. If the planting of other late cherry varieties is increased, e.g. economic important sweet varities to prolong the cherry season, these are also in danger of being infested. In Germany, R. cingulata has been detected in nearly all cherry growing regions (Baden-Württemberg, Brandenburg, Bavaria, Hesse, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia). Higher population densities are observed in areas with extensive cherry growing and with reservoirs such as abandoned orchards, hedges and unmanaged areas including host plants. To date infestation levels in sour cherries have reached 20 to 30% (Vogt, 2007; Vogt et al., 2007, 2010). In all regions where R. cingulata has been observed, chemical control is now recommended. The occurrence of R. cingulata has also recently been reported from further countries: Slovenia and Hungary, no further details are available as yet as monitoring has only just started.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
It is unlikely that the species has an impact on habitats or biodiversity. It only competes with the European species R. cerasi, and has a slightly alternative phenology emerging 3 to 4 weeks later. The resources used by both species are abundant.
Social ImpactTop of page
Since the occurrence of R. cingulata it has become necessary to treat sour cherry varities with insecticides. Expansions of infestations might lead to the giving up of extensive cherry growing, especially when managed as a sideline, as well as the cutting down of trees in gardens.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerant of shade
- Highly mobile locally
- Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
- Has high reproductive potential
- Has propagules that can remain viable for more than one year
- Host damage
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
- Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
Detection and InspectionTop of page
Traps have been developed which capture both sexes, based on visual, or visual plus odour, attraction. They are coated in sticky material and are usually either flat-surfaced and coloured fluorescent yellow to elicit a supernormal foliage response (see Reissig, 1976), or spherical and dark-coloured to represent a fruit (see Prokopy, 1977); traps which combine both foliage and fruit attraction can also be used. The odour comes from protein hydrolysate or other substances emitting ammonia, such as ammonium acetate. See Boller and Prokopy (1976), Economopoulos (1989) and Liburd et al. (2001) for a discussion of these traps and Pelz-Stelinski et al. (2006a) for positioning of the traps. Burditt (1988) has evaluated different traps for catching R. indifferens in British Columbia, Canada.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
R. cingulata is most likely to be confused with R. indifferens (see Morphology Section). The adults of R. cingulata are also very similar to, and not always separable from, those of two species associated with Oleaceae, namely R. chionanthi and R. osmanthi (see Foote et al., 1993, for details).
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.
Upon detection, fallen and infected fruit should be removed and destroyed. This aspect is very important, but normally rarely executed as it costs time and money.
Cherry fruit fly control has relied for many years on the use of broad-spectrum insecticides. Boller and Prokopy (1976) note already that systemic organophosphates, such as dimethoate, are highly effective against most species, killing eggs, larvae and adults. Belanger et al. (1985) discussed the use of pyrethroids, but these were only of use when pest activity was low. Use of soil insecticides to kill puparia has been considered by AliNiazee (1974) and Boller and Prokopy (1976) referred to experiments with juvenile hormone analogues applied to the soil. However, regarding ecotoxicological aspects soil applications should not be considered anymore. Advanced IPM systems have been implemented in some areas, for example, Michigan (Edson et al., 1998). Broad-spectrum insecticides are still in use (Rothwell et al., 2006), but due to the re-evaluation processes underway for pesticides in the USA, Canada and Europe these most probably will disappear. In Germany, dimethoate has no registration any more for cherry fruit fly control since 2005 and its use has only been allowed by special permit since then. Studies with newer insecticides, e.g. neonicotinids or acetamiprid (Fried, 2003; Galli, 2003), and others are ongoing. In the USA, particle film (Kaolin clay) is another option for cherry fruit fly control.
As a new and environmentally friendly measure, progress has been made with bait sprays (food bait mixed with low quantities of insecticides) containing spinosad as an insecticide (e.g. Yee and Chapmann, 2005; Pelz-Stelinski et al., 2006b; Yee and Alston, 2006; Köppler et al., 2008). Bait sprays can be applied as spot treatments on the trees. In comparison with cover sprays, the amount of insecticide used is drastically reduced with bait sprays. Constraints in their effectiveness are high population densities and rainfall, because bait sprays up to now are not rainfast. Furthermore, infestation sources, i.e. untreated host trees, should not be in the vicinity in order to avoid immigration of fertile females.
Investigations in biocontrol using entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) have shown that maggots of Rhagoletis species are highly susceptible (Yee and Lacey, 2003; Köppler et al., 2005). However, high efficacies could not be achieved under practical conditions with one to several applications of a commercially available product based on Steinernema feltiae (application rate 250.000 to 500.000 EPN/m²) (Herz et al., 2007a,b; 2008). The reasons are manyfold: pupation occurs too quickly (when larvae enter the soil; larval dropping to the soil occurs over a long period (2-4 weeks)); survival of nematodes in the soil is short (frequent and cost intensive applications of EPN would be necessary); and soil conditions are often unfavourable (too dry and too warm, for optimum nematode survival and infectivity). Even with repeated irrigation in field investigations carried out by Herz et al. (2007a,b, 2008), efficacies were far from sufficient.
Entomopathogenic fungi as biocontrol agents have been tested against Rhagoletis species in Europe and the USA (Yee and Lacey, 2005; Daniel and Wyss, 2008; Ladurner et al., 2008). A product based on Beauveria bassiana is registered in Italy for control of the European cherry fruit fly, R. cerasi. Field experiments have resulted in significant reductions of fruit infestation, but efficacies varied (Daniel and Wyss, 2008; Ladurner et al., 2008). This may be due to varying climatic conditions, which have a high impact on myco-pesticides.
Consignments of cherries (Prunus avium, P. cerasus) and of P. salicina from countries where R. cingulata or R. indifferens occur should be inspected for symptoms of infestation and those suspected should be cut open in order to look for larvae. The European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) recommends that such fruits should come from an area where R. cingulata and R. indifferens do not occur, or from a place of production found free from these pests by regular inspection for 3 months before harvest. Fruits may also be treated, but specific treatment schedules have mostly not been developed for Rhagoletis species, since there is no need for them in North America. Irradiation has been successfully tested as a quarantine treatment against R. indifferens (Burditt and Hungate, 1988).
Plants of host species transported with roots from countries where R. cingulata or R. indifferens occur should be free from soil, or the soil should be treated against puparia, and should not carry fruits. Such plants may indeed be prohibited importation.
ReferencesTop of page
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Pelz-Stelinski KS, Gut LJ, Isaacs R, 2006a. Vertical position of traps influences captures of eastern cherry fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae). Florida Entomologist, 89(1):80-82. http://www.fcla.edu/FlaEnt/fe89p80.pdf
Pelz-Stelinski KS, Gut LJ, Isaacs R, 2006b. Behavioral responses of Rhagoletis cingulata (Diptera: Tephritidae) to GF-120 insecticidal bait enhanced with ammonium acetate. Journal of Economic Entomology, 99(4):1316-1320. http://docserver.esa.catchword.org/deliver/cw/pdf/esa/freepdfs/00220493/v99n4s36.pdf
Rothwell N, Gut L, Teixeira L, 2006. Cherry fruit fly ecology and management. Fruit Crop Advisory Team Alert letter, 21(9). Michigan State University, June 6, 2006. http://www.ipm.msu.edu/cat06fruit/f06-06-06.htm
Rull, J., Aluja, M., Feder, J. L., 2011. Distribution and basic biology of black cherry-infesting Rhagoletis (Diptera: Tephritidae) in México. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 104(2), 202-211. doi: 10.1603/AN10095
Smith, D. C., 1984. Feeding, mating, and oviposition by Rhagoletis cingulata (Diptera: Tephritidae) flies in nature. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 77(6), 702-704. doi: 10.1093/aesa/77.6.702
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Rull J, Aluja M, Feder J L, 2011. Distribution and basic biology of black cherry-infesting Rhagoletis (Diptera: Tephritidae) in México. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 104 (2), 202-211. DOI:10.1603/AN10095
Smith D C, 1984. Feeding, mating, and oviposition by Rhagoletis cingulata (Diptera: Tephritidae) flies in nature. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 77 (6), 702-704. DOI:10.1093/aesa/77.6.702
Vogt H, Dahlbender W, Hensel G, Lampe I, 2007. [English title not available]. (Ein neues Problem für den Kirschanbau: die Ostamerikanische Kirschfruchtfliege Rhagoletis cingulata (Loew). Entomologentagung Innsbruck, Abstracts). In: Berichte des naturwissenschaftlich-medizinischen Vereins in Innsbruck, Supplementum 17, 253.
OrganizationsTop of page
Germany: Julius Kuehn Institute, Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit Crops and Viticulture Schwabenheimer Straße 101, D- 69221 Dossenheim
USA: Systematic Entomology Lab., USDA, c/o National Museum of Natural History, MRC-168 P.O. Box 37012, Washington, DC 20013-7012
ContributorsTop of page
29/02/2008 Updated by:
Heidrun Vogt, Julius Kuehn Institute, Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit Crops and Viticulture, Schwabenheimer Str. 101, D-69221 Dossenheim, Germany
Distribution MapsTop of page
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