Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Rhagoletis fausta
(black cherry fruit fly)



Rhagoletis fausta (black cherry fruit fly)


  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Rhagoletis fausta
  • Preferred Common Name
  • black cherry fruit fly
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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TitleLine drawing of adult R. fausta
Copyright©CABI BioScience
Line drawing of adult R. fausta©CABI BioScience


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Rhagoletis fausta (Osten-Sacken)

Preferred Common Name

  • black cherry fruit fly

Other Scientific Names

  • Acidia fausta (Osten-Sacken)
  • Rhagoletis intrudens Aldrich
  • Trypeta (Acidia) fausta Osten-Sacken
  • Trypeta fausta Osten-Sacken

International Common Names

  • English: fruit fly, black cherry; fruit fly, dark cherry
  • French: trypète noire des cerises

Local Common Names

  • USA: black-bodied cherry fruit fly; dark cherry fruit fly

EPPO code

  • RHAGFA (Rhagoletis fausta)

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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R. fausta is a distinctive species which has not suffered any consistent misidentifications or confused nomenclature.


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Specimens should be carefully examined for wing pattern.

Diagnostic features of the genus are as follows (these characters are extracted from a key of North American genera of Tephritidae by Foote et al., 1993): Head with two pairs orbital setae; posterior pair reclinate. Gena with only small 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 R. fausta are as follows: thorax and abdomen predominantly black; Scutellum entirely pale except for small dark lateral spots; wing with both posterior and anterior apical cross bands, distal and preapical cross bands broadly joined. For more comprehensive details see Foote et al. (1993).


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.

There is no modern description of the larva of this species. Any Rhagoletis larva found in cherry (Prunus spp.) and having the following features is likely to be this species: Posterior spiracular slits are at least four times as long as broad (needs confirmation); larva (third instar) more than 7 mm long; anterior spiracles with less than 20 tubules. See the key to larvae in White and Elson-Harris (1994), which used a combination of host and fragmentary morphological data.


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This species appears to have a disjunctive distribution with widespread occurrence in western and eastern North America, but no more than a few scattered records along the USA/Canada border to link these areas.

CIE (1963), Harris (1989) and Foote et al. (1993) all provided distribution maps.

See also CABI/EPPO (1998, No. 134).

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: 12 May 2022
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes


LithuaniaAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey
NetherlandsAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey
SloveniaAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey

North America

CanadaPresent, Localized
-AlbertaPresent, Localized
-British ColumbiaPresent
-New BrunswickPresent
-Newfoundland and LabradorPresent
-Nova ScotiaPresent
United StatesPresent, Localized
-New HampshirePresent
-New YorkPresent


New ZealandAbsent, Confirmed absent by survey

Risk of Introduction

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R. fausta is a quarantine pest for temperate regions. For example, the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) A1 quarantine list category 'non-European Trypetidae' (OEPP/EPPO, 1983) includes R. fausta.


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Areas with suitable hosts and climate.

Hosts/Species Affected

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This species attacks cherries (Prunus spp.). It is a pest of P. cerasus and P. avium (Bush, 1966). Its main natural hosts are P. emarginata in the western part of its range, and wild P. pensylvanica in the east (Foote et al., 1993).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Growth Stages

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Fruiting stage


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Attacked fruit will be pitted by oviposition punctures, around which some discoloration usually occurs.

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

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Most Rhagoletis species have a similar biology as detailed by Christenson and Foote (1960): 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).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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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 Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Clothing, footwear and possessionsFruit in case or handbag. Yes
Containers and packaging - woodOf fruit cargo. Yes
Land vehiclesLorries, aeroplanes and perhaps ships, with fruit cargo. Yes
MailFruit in post. 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) arthropods/eggs; arthropods/larvae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Growing medium accompanying plants arthropods/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)


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R. fausta is an important pest of cherries (Prunus spp.) in North America.

Detection and Inspection

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Traps have been developed that capture both sexes, which are 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) and Economopoulos (1989) for a discussion of these traps.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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This species should not be mistaken for any other provided the diagnostic notes are applied carefully. If in doubt consult Foote et al. (1993).

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.

Chemical Control

Control procedures already established in the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) region for R. cerasi are similar to those used against the North American pest species and could therefore be implemented against any outbreak of those species within the EPPO region. Upon detection, fallen and infected fruit must be removed and destroyed. If possible, wild and abandoned host trees should also be destroyed. Boller and Prokopy (1976) note 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. More environmentally acceptable techniques have been tried; namely bait sprays (insecticide plus ammonia source) which can be applied as a spot treatment (see Buriff and Still, 1973; Reissig, 1977); soil application of insecticide to destroy pupae; and juvenile hormone analogues which can be applied to the soil (Boller and Prokopy, 1976). Advanced IPM systems have been implemented in some areas, e.g. Michigan (Edson et al., 1998).

Phytosanitary Measures

Consignments of cherries from countries where R. fausta occurs should be inspected for symptoms of infestation and those suspected should be cut open in order to look for larvae. EPPO recommends that such fruits should come from an area where R. fausta does not occur, or from a place of production found free from the pest by regular inspection for 3 months before harvest. Fruits may also be treated, but specific treatment schedules have not been developed for most Rhagoletis species, since there is no need for them in North America.

Plants of host species transported with roots from countries where R. fausta occurs should be free from soil, or the soil should be treated against puparia, and should not carry fruits. Such plants may indeed be prohibited against importation.


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Belanger A; Bostanian NJ; Rivard I, 1985. Apple maggot (Diptera: Trypetidae) control with insecticides and their residues in and on apples. Journal of Economic Entomology, 78(2):463-466.

Berlocher SH; Dixon PL, 2004. Occurrence of Rhagoletis species in Newfoundland. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 113(1):45-52.

Boller EF; Prokopy RJ, 1976. Bionomics and management of Rhagoletis. In: Smith RF, Mittler TE, Smith CN, ed. Annual review of entomology. Volume 21. Annual Reviews Inc. Palo Alto, California, USA, 223-246.

Buriff CR; Still GW, 1973. Black cherry fruit fly: bait spray for control. Journal of Economic Entomology, 66(6):1350-1351

Bush GL, 1966. The taxonomy, cytology and evolution of the genus Rhagoletis in North America (Diptera: Tephritidae). Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 134:431-526.

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

Christenson LD; Foote RH, 1960. Biology of fruit flies. Annual Review of Entomology, 5:171-192.

CIE, 1963. Rhagoletis fausta (O.-S.) (Dipt., Trypetidae). Distribution Maps of Pests, Series A, 160. London, UK: Commonwealth Institute of Entomology.

Dowell RV; Penrose RL, 2012. Distribution and phenology of Rhagoletis fausta (Osten Sacken 1877) and Rhagoletis indifferens Curren 1932 (Diptera: Tephritidae) in California. Pan-Pacific Entomologist, 88(2):130-150.

Economopoulos AP, 1989. Control; use of traps based on color and/or shape. In: Robinson AS, Hooper G, eds. Fruit Flies; Their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests 3(B): 315-327. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.

Edson CE; Nugent JE; Thornton GE; Laubach JE; Ystaas J, 1998. Integrated sour cherry (Prunus cerasus) production in Northwest lower Michigan. Third international cherry symposium, Ullensvang, Norway and Aarslev, Denmark, 23-29 July 1997. Acta-Horticulturae. No. 468, II, 505-513.

EPPO, 1983. Data sheets on quarantine organisms. Set 6. EPPO Bulletin, 13(1). unnumbered.

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

Foote RH; Blanc FL; Norrbom AL, 1993. Handbook of the Fruit Flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) of America North of Mexico. Ithaca, USA: Comstock.

Harris EJ, 1989. Pest status; Hawaiian Islands and North America, In: Robinson AS, Hooper G, eds. Fruit Flies; their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests. Amsterdam, Holland: Elsevier, 3(A):73-81.

Jubb GL Jr; Cox JA, 1974. Seasonal emergence of two cherry fruit fly species in Erie County, Pennsylvania: 25-year summary. Journal of Economic Entomology, 67(5):613-615

Prokopy RJ, 1977. Attraction of Rhagoletis flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) to red spheres of different sizes. Canadian Entomologist, 109(4):593-596

Reissig WH, 1976. Comparison of traps and lures for Rhagoletis fausta and R. cingulata. Journal of Economic Entomology, 69(5):639-643

Reissig WH, 1977. Response of the apple maggot, Rhagoletis pomonella, and the cherry fruit fly, R. fausta (Diptera: Tephritidae), to protein hydrolysate bait sprays. Canadian Entomologist, 109(2):161-164

White IM; Elson-Harris MM, 1994. Fruit flies of economic significance: their identification and bionomics. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. Reprint with addendum.

Distribution References

Berlocher S H, Dixon P L, 2004. Occurrence of Rhagoletis species in Newfoundland. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 113 (1), 45-52. DOI:10.1111/j.0013-8703.2004.00204.x

Buriff C R, Still G W, 1973. Black cherry fruit fly: bait spray for control. Journal of Economic Entomology. 66 (6), 1350-1351. DOI:10.1093/jee/66.6.1350

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

EPPO, 2022. EPPO Global database. In: EPPO Global database, Paris, France: EPPO. 1 pp.

Foote R H, Blanc F L, Norrbom A L, 1993. Handbook of the fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) of America north of Mexico. Ithaca, USA: Comstock Publishing Associates. xii + 571 pp.

NPPO of the Netherlands, 2013. Pest status of harmful organisms in the Netherlands., Wageningen, Netherlands:

Distribution Maps

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