Bactrocera carambolae (carambola fruit fly)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Detection and Inspection
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Bactrocera carambolae Drew & Hancock
Preferred Common Name
- carambola fruit fly
Other Scientific Names
- Bactrocera sp. near dorsalis (A) (Hendel)
- BCTRCB (Bactrocera carambolae)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Diptera
- Family: Tephritidae
- Genus: Bactrocera
- Species: Bactrocera carambolae
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
DescriptionTop of page
The egg of B. oleae was described in detail by Margaritis (1985) and those of other species are probably very similar. Size, 0.8 mm long, 0.2 mm wide, with the micropyle protruding slightly at the anterior end. The chorion is reticulate (requires scanning electron microscope examination). White to yellow-white in colour.
The following larval description was taken from White and Elson-Harris (1994):
B. carambolae third instar larva: larvae medium-sized, length 7.5-9.5 mm; width 1.5-2.0 mm. Head: stomal sensory organ large, with 5 preoral lobes (at most 1 lobe with small serrations); oral ridges with 8-10 rows of large, deeply serrated, blunt-edged teeth; 8-11 small accessory plates with strongly serrated edges; mouthhooks sclerotized, without preapical teeth. Thoracic and abdominal segments: encircling bands of discontinuous rows of small spinules on anterior portion of each thoracic segment. T1 with 11-17 rows of large, sharply pointed spinules, forming small groups dorsally which gradually become discontinuous rows laterally and ventrally; T2 and T3 with 5-7 rows of smaller, stouter spinules. Creeping welts with small, stout spinules similar to those on T2, with 1 posterior row of slightly larger spinules. A8 with well defined intermediate areas and obvious sensilla. Anterior spiracles: 9-15 prominent tubules. Posterior spiracles: spiracular slits thick walled; about 2.5-3.0 times as long as broad. Spiracular hair bundles of 10-15 hairs in dorsal and ventral groups and 4-7 in lateral bundles; each hair with a broad trunk, branched in apical third and about the same length as a spiracular slit. Anal area: lobes large, protuberant, with 3-7 surrounding rows of small, stout, slightly curved spinules forming a small concentration just below anal opening.
Barrel-shaped with most larval features unrecognisable, the exception being the anterior and posterior spiracles which are little changed by pupariation. White to yellow-brown in colour. Usually about 60-80% length of larva.
Drew and Hancock (1994) distinguish the B. dorsalis species complex as follows: Bactrocera (Bactrocera) spp. with a clear wing membrane, except for a narrow costal band (not reaching R4+5); cells bc and c colourless (except in a few non-pests with a very pale tint) and devoid of microtrichia. Scutum mostly black; with lateral but not medial vittae; yellow scutellum, except for basal band which is usually very narrow; abdomen with a medial dark stripe on T3-T5; dark laterally (but form of marking varies from species to species).
B. carambolae belongs to a subgroup which have yellow postpronotal lobes, parallel lateral vittae, and femora not extensively marked. Within this group it is distinguished by its short aculeus/aedeagus; tomentum with no gap; deep costal band; intermediate abdominal markings.
The CABIKEY to pest Dacini included here permits the separation of this species from others likely to be reared from cultivated fruit.
DistributionTop of page
See also CABI/EPPO (1998, No. 20).
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|
|-Andaman and Nicobar Islands||Present|
|-Lesser Sunda Islands||Present|
|French Guiana||Present, Localized|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page
In addition to the hosts listed, Annona montana, Artocarpus elasticus, A. odoratissimus, A. rigidus, Baccaurea motleyana, Lansium domesticum, Solanum ferox [S. lasiocarpum] and Triphasia trifolia are also hosts of B. carambolae.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
Growth StagesTop of page
SymptomsTop of page
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Fruit / internal feeding|
|Fruit / lesions: black or brown|
|Fruit / premature drop|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
No specific details on the biology of B. carambolae are available. Eggs of related species are laid below the skin of the host fruit. These hatch within a day (although delayed up to 20 days in cool conditions) and the larvae feed for another 6-35 days, depending on season. Pupariation is in the soil under the host plant for 10-12 days but may be delayed for up to 90 days under cool conditions. Adults occur throughout the year and begin mating after about 8-12 days, and may live 1-3 months depending on temperature (up to 12 months in cool conditions) (Christenson and Foote, 1960). Adult flight and the transport of infected fruit are the major means of movement and dispersal to previously uninfested 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).]
Natural enemiesTop of page
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
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)||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|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
|True seeds (inc. grain)|
ImpactTop of page
Detection and InspectionTop of page
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.
Many countries, such as the mainland USA, forbid the import of susceptible fruit without strict post-harvest treatment having been applied by the exporter. This may involve fumigation, heat treatment (hot vapour or hot water), cold treatments, insecticidal dipping, or irradiation (Armstrong and Couey, 1989). Irradiation is not accepted in most countries and fumigation is a hazardous operation. Heat treatment tends to reduce the shelf life of most fruits and so the most effective method of regulatory control is preferentially to restrict imports of a given fruit to areas free of fruit fly attack.
Cultural Control and Sanitary Methods
One of the most effective control techniques against fruit flies in general is to wrap fruit, either in newspaper, a paper bag, or in the case of long/thin fruits, a polythene sleeve. This is a simple physical barrier to oviposition but it has to be applied well before the fruit is attacked. Little information is available on the attack time for most fruits but few Bactrocera spp. attack prior to ripening.
Although cover sprays of entire crops are sometimes used, the use of bait sprays is both more economical and more environmentally acceptable. A bait spray consists of a suitable insecticide (e.g. malathion) mixed with a protein bait. Both males and females of fruit flies are attracted to protein sources emanating ammonia, and so insecticides can be applied to just a few spots in an orchard and the flies will be attracted to these spots. The protein most widely used is hydrolysed protein, but some supplies of this are acid hydrolysed and so highly phytotoxic. Smith and Nannan (1988) have developed a system using autolysed protein. In Malaysia this has been developed into a very effective commercial product derived from brewery waste.
The males B. carambolae are attracted to methyl eugenol (4-allyl-1,2-dimethoxybenzene), sometimes in very large numbers. On a small scale many farmers use male suppression as a control technique; however, with flies attracted over a few hundred metres the traps may be responsible for increasing the fly level (at least of males) on a crop as much as for reducing it. However, the technique has been used as an eradication technique (male annihilation), in combination with bait (Bateman, 1982).
Early Warning Systems
Many countries that are free of Bactrocera spp., e.g. the USA (California and Florida) and New Zealand, maintain a grid of methyl eugenol and cue lure traps, at least in high-risk areas (ports and airports) if not around the entire climatically suitable area. The trap used will usually be modelled on the Steiner trap (White and Elson-Harris, 1994).
Monitoring is largely carried out by traps (see Early Warning Systems) set in areas of infestation. However, there is evidence that some fruit flies have different host preferences in different parts of their range and host fruit surveys should also be considered as part of the monitoring process.
ReferencesTop of page
Aguilar, J. A. D., Santos, P. R. dos, 2007. Survey of fruits hosting Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera: Tephritidae), in Oiapoque, State of Amapá, Brazil. (Levantamento de frutos hospedeiros de Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera: Tephritidae), em Oiapoque, Amapá). Revista de Agricultura (Piracicaba), 82(2), 209-214.
Allwood AJ, Chinajariyawong A, Kritsaneepaiboon S, Drew RAI, Hamacek EL, Hancock DL, Hengsawad C, Jipanin JC, Jirasurat M, Krong CK, Leong CTS, Vijaysegaran S, 1999. Host plant records for fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Southeast Asia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 47(Supplement 7):1-92; 26 ref
Almeida, R. do R., Cruz, K. R., Sousa, M. do S. M. de, Costa Neto, S. V. da, Jesus-Barros, C. R. de, Lima, A. L., Adaime, R., 2016. Frugivorous flies (Diptera: Tephritidae, Lonchaeidae) associated with fruit production on Ilha de Santana, Brazilian Amazon. Florida Entomologist, 99(3), 426-436. doi: 10.1653/024.099.0313
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
Baimai, V., Phinchongsakuldit, J., Trinachartvanit, W., 1999. Metaphase karyotypes of fruit flies of Thailand (III): six members of the Bactrocera dorsalis complex. Zoological Studies, 38(1), 110-118.
Baker RT, Cowley JM, 1991. A New Zealand view of quarantine security with special reference to fruit flies, In: Vijaysegaran S, Ibrahim AG, eds. First International Symposium on Fruit Flies in the Tropics, Kuala Lumpur, 1988. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, 396-408
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
Chinajariyawong, A., Clarke, A. R., Jirasurat, M., Kritsaneepiboon, S., Lahey, H. A., Vijaysegaran, S., Walter, G. H., 2000. Survey of opiine parasitoids of fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Thailand and Malaysia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 48(1), 71-101.
Christenson LD, Foote RH, 1960. Biology of fruit flies. Annual Review of Entomology, 5:171-192
Chua, T. H., Khoo, S. G., 1995. Variations in carambola infestation rates by Bactrocera carambolae Drew and Hancock (Diptera: Tephritidae) with fruit availability in a carambola orchard. Researches on Population Ecology, 37(2), 151-157. doi: 10.1007/BF02515815
Clarke, A. R., Allwood, A., Chinajariyawong, A., Drew, R. A. I., Hengsawad, C., Jirasurat, M., Krong, C. K., Kritsaneepaiboon, S., Vijaysegaran, S., 2001. Seasonal abundance and host use patterns of seven Bactrocera Macquart species (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 49(2), 207-220.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
FAO/IAEA, 2003. Trapping Guidelines for area-wide fruit fly programmes. Vienna, Austria: International Atomic Energy Agency, 47 pp
Fletcher BS, 1989. Ecology; life history strategies of tephritid fruit flies, In: Robinson AS, Hooper G, eds. Fruit Flies; their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests. Amsterdam, Holland: Elsevier, 3(B):195-208
Fletcher BS, 1989. Movements of tephritid fruit flies. In: Fruit Flies; their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests [ed. by Robinson, A. S., Hooper, G.]. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Science Publishers, 209-219
Foote RH, Blanc FL, Norrbom AL, 1993. Handbook of the Fruit Flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) of America North of Mexico. Ithaca, USA: Comstock
Hicks, C. B., Bloem, K., Pallipparambil, G. R., Hartzog, H. M., 2019. Reported Long-Distance Flight of the Invasive Oriental Fruit Fly and Its Trade Implications. In: Area-Wide Management of Fruit Fly Pests, [ed. by Perez-Staples, D., Diaz-Fleischer, F., Montoya, P., Vera, M. T.]. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press. 9-25. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9780429355738/chapters/10.1201/9780429355738-2
IIE, 1994. Bactrocera carambolae Drew & Hancock (Diptera: Tephritidae) (carambola fly). International Institute of Entomology, Distribution Maps of Pests, series A, (546), 1-2. Wallingford, UK: CAB International
Iwaizumi, R., 2004. Species and host record of the Bactrocera dorsalis complex (Diptera: Tephritidae) detected by the plant quarantine of Japan. Applied Entomology and Zoology, 39(2), 327-333. doi: 10.1303/aez.2004.327
Lemos, L. do N., Adaime, R., Jesus-Barros, C. R. de, Deus, E. da G. de, 2014. New hosts of Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Brazil. Florida Entomologist, 97(2), 841-843. doi: 10.1653/024.097.0274
Sauers-Muller, A. van, 2005. Host plants of the carambola fruit fly, Bactrocera carambolae Drew & Hancock (Diptera: Tephritidae), in Suriname, South America. Neotropical Entomology, 34(2), 203-214. doi: 10.1590/S1519-566X2005000200008
Unahawutti, U., Intarakumheng, R., Oonthonglang, P., Phankum, S., Follett, P. A., 2014. Nonhost status of mangosteen to Bactrocera dorsalis and Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Thailand. Journal of Economic Entomology, 107(4), 1355-1361. doi: 10.1603/EC13566
Weldon CW, Schutze MK, Karsten M, 2014. Trapping to monitor tephritid movement: results, best practice, and assessment of alternatives. In: Trapping and the detection, control, and regulation of Tephritid fruit flies: lures, aarea-wide programs, and trade implications [ed. by Shelly T, Epsky N, Jang EB, Reyes-Flores J, Vargas R]. New York, USA: Springer, 175-217
Wharton RH, 1989. Control; classical biological control of fruit-infesting Tephritidae, In: Robinson AS, Hooper G, eds. Fruit Flies; their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests 3(B). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, 303-313
Yong HS, 1994. Host fruit preferences in two sympatric taxa of the Bactrocera dorsalis complex (Insecta: Diptera: Tephritidae). In: Yong HS, Khoo SG (eds). Current Research on Tropical Fruit Flies and their Management, 1-8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: The Working Group on Malaysian Fruit Flies
Aguilar J A D, Santos P R dos, 2007. Survey of fruits hosting Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera: Tephritidae), in Oiapoque, State of Amapá, Brazil. (Levantamento de frutos hospedeiros de Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera: Tephritidae), em Oiapoque, Amapá.). Revista de Agricultura (Piracicaba). 82 (2), 209-214.
Almeida R do R, Cruz K R, Sousa M do S M de, Costa Neto S V da, Jesus-Barros C R de, Lima A L, Adaime R, 2016. Frugivorous flies (Diptera: Tephritidae, Lonchaeidae) associated with fruit production on Ilha de Santana, Brazilian Amazon. Florida Entomologist. 99 (3), 426-436. DOI:10.1653/024.099.0313
Bellis G A, Brito A A, Jesus H de, Quintao V, Sarmento J C, Bere A, Rodrigues J, Hancock D L, 2017. A preliminary account of the fruit fly fauna of Timor-Leste (Diptera: Tephritidae: Dacinae). Zootaxa. 4362 (3), 421-432. http://www.mapress.com/j/zt/article/view/zootaxa.4362.3.6 DOI:10.11646/zootaxa.4362.3.6
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Clarke A R, Allwood A, Chinajariyawong A, Drew R A I, Hengsawad C, Jirasurat M, Krong C K, Kritsaneepaiboon S, Vijaysegaran S, 2001. Seasonal abundance and host use patterns of seven Bactrocera Macquart species (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 49 (2), 207-220.
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Ihsan-ul-Haq, Vreysen M J B, Schutze M, Hendrichs J, Shelly T, 2016. Effects of methyl eugenol feeding on mating compatibility of Asian population of Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) with African population and with B. carambolae. Journal of Economic Entomology. 109 (1), 148-153. http://jee.oxfordjournals.org/content/109/1/148
Iwahashi O, 1999. Distinguishing between the two sympatric species Bactrocera carambolae and B. papayae (Diptera: Tephritidae) based on aedeagal length. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 92 (5), 639-643. DOI:10.1093/aesa/92.5.639
Kago H, Sawada H, Susanto A, Takakura K, Nishida T, Tsukada M, 2012. A simple criterion for distinguishing between sympatric fruit flies Bactrocera carambolae and B. papayae (Diptera: Tephritidae) notorious pests of diverse fruits on Java. Japanese Journal of Environmental Entomology and Zoology. 23 (3), 143-149. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jjeez/23/3/23_143/_article/-char/ja/
Leblanc L, Hossain M A, Doorenweerd C, Khan S A, Momen M, San Jose M, Rubinoff D, 2019. Six years of fruit fly surveys in Bangladesh: a new species, 33 new country records and discovery of the highly invasive Bactrocera carambolae (Diptera, Tephritidae). ZooKeys. 87-109. DOI:10.3897/zookeys.876.38096
Muraji M, Nakahara S, 2001. Phylogenetic relationships among fruit flies, Bactrocera (Diptera, Tephritidae), based on the mitochondrial rDNA sequences. Insect Molecular Biology. 10 (6), 549-559. DOI:10.1046/j.0962-1075.2001.00294.x
Muraji M, Nakahara S, 2002. Discrimination among pest species of Bactrocera (Diptera: Tephritidae) based on PCR-RFLP of the mitochondrial DNA. Applied Entomology and Zoology. 37 (3), 437-446. DOI:10.1303/aez.2002.437
San Jose M, Leblanc L, Geib S M, Rubinoff D, 2013. An evaluation of the species status of Bactrocera invadens and the systematics of the Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) complex. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 106 (6), 684-694. DOI:10.1603/AN13017
Sauers-Muller A van, 2005. Host plants of the carambola fruit fly, Bactrocera carambolae Drew & Hancock (Diptera: Tephritidae), in Suriname, South America. Neotropical Entomology. 34 (2), 203-214. DOI:10.1590/S1519-566X2005000200008
Vayssières J F, Cayol J P, Caplong P, Séguret J, Midgarden D, Sauers-Muller A van, Zucchi R, Uramoto K, Malavasi A, 2013. Diversity of fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) species in French Guiana: their main host plants and associated parasitoids during the period 1994-2003 and prospects for management. Fruits (Paris). 68 (3), 219-243. DOI:10.1051/fruits/2013070
Vayssières J F, Cayol J P, Perrier X, Midgarden D, 2007. Impact of methyl eugenol and malathion bait stations on non-target insect populations in French Guiana during an eradication program for Bactrocera carambolae. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 125 (1), 55-62. DOI:10.1111/j.1570-7458.2007.00599.x
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