Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Bactrocera minax
(Chinese citrus fly)



Bactrocera minax (Chinese citrus fly)


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TitleBactrocera minax (Chinese citrus fly); adult. Museum set specimen.
Copyright©CABI BioScience
Bactrocera minax (Chinese citrus fly); adult. Museum set specimen.©CABI BioScience


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Bactrocera minax (Enderlein)

Preferred Common Name

  • Chinese citrus fly

Other Scientific Names

  • Bactrocera citri (Chen)
  • Callantra minax (Enderlein)
  • Dacus citri Chen
  • Dacus minax (Enderlein)
  • Mellesis citri Chen
  • Polistomimetes minax Enderlein
  • Tetradacus citri Chen

EPPO code

  • DACUCT (Bactrocera minax)

Taxonomic Tree

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

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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B. minax belongs to subgenus Tetradacus and its name may therefore be cited as Bactrocera (Tetradacus) minax (Enderlein). Prior to the work of White and Wang (1992), some workers had erroneously listed B. citri as a synonym of B. tsuneonis and that confusion has caused some cataloguers to list B. minax and B. tsuneonis as synonyms.


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The genus Bactrocera 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 hardly 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 along the dorsal side of vein R1. At the wing base, species of Bactrocera and Dacus have a very deep cell bm and a very long pointed extension of cell bcu (= cup). The genus Bactrocera, is separated from Dacus, by the terga (dorsal sclerites of the abdomen) not being fused into a single sclerotized plate.

B. minax belongs to subgenus Tetradacus, which lack postpronotal setae, prescutellar acrostical setae and basal scutellar setae; males have a pecten (row or comb of setae along each postero-lateral margin of tergum 3) and the posterior margin of the 5th sternite has a deep V-shaped emargination. Members of this subgenus are generally the largest members of the genus, with wing lengths of 9 mm or more.

B. minax is a predominantly orange-brown species; it has medial and lateral yellow vittae (stripes) on the scutum, including the unusual feature of lateral yellow stripes anterior to the suture (often hard to see in stained specimens). It lacks anterior supra-alar setae and the aculeus of the female (needs dissection) has a single rounded apical point.


A full description was provided by White and Elson-Harris (1994). However, the larva of B. tsuneonis remains unknown and the characters given may to a large extent also apply to that species, making larval identification unreliable.


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The distribution was mapped by IIE (1991).

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

Risk of Introduction

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B. minax has the potential to establish on Citrus in areas outside of Asia. The closely related B. tsuneonis was listed as an A1 quarantine pest by EPPO (OEPP/EPPO, 1983) and others at a time when the names of these two species were confused.

Hosts/Species Affected

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B. minax is a specialist on Citrus and related genera of Rutaceae. It is a large powerful insect presumably adapted to oviposition through the thick skin of oranges, for example.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Growth Stages

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Fruiting stage


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The area around the oviposition puncture made by Bactrocera usually gets discoloured. Details are available for the closely related B. tsuneonis.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Fruit / discoloration
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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B. minax is univoltine and and it overwinters as a puparium (Zhang, 1989); there is considerable cold tolerance in the puparium (Fan et al., 1994). Zhang (1989) noted that emergence began at the end of April in Sichuan Province, China, and before oviposition, the adults needed supplementary nutrients. Mating began 20 days after emergence, and oviposition 15 days later; the peak period for egg hatching was early September, there were three larval instars and pupation peaked in the period from the end of October to mid-November.

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Diachasmimorpha feijeni Parasite Arthropods|Larvae

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Tabulated data is available from van Achterberg (1999).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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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
Clothing, footwear and possessionsFruit in cases or bags Yes
Containers and packaging - woodOf fruit cargo Yes
Land vehiclesLorries, planes, possibly ships with fruit cargo Yes
MailFruit in post Yes
Soil, sand and gravelPossible risk 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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Wang et al. (1995) said 5% of oranges were attacked in an area of Guizhou, China.

Detection and Inspection

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Unlike most pest species of Bactrocera, the males of this species are not attracted to any known chemical lure. However, 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

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B. minax is very similar in general appearance to B. tsuneonis but differs in the absence of anterior supra-alar setae, and by the single point of the female aculeus. These features are described in the interactive key to pest species of Dacini. Lin et al. (2007) have developed a rapid molecular diagnostic technique for the identification of these two species.

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.

The following general control measures for control of Bactrocera broadly apply to B. minax. When detected, it is important to gather all fallen and infested host fruits, and destroy them. Insecticidal protection is possible by using a cover or bait spray. Specific recommendations are few; spraying with trichlorphon in sugar solution before female oviposition affords satisfactory control in orchards (Zhang, 1989). 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 were 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 in 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 sterile insect technique has been applied. In Guizhou, China, Wang et al. (1995) reduced attack on oranges from over 5% to around 0.1% by releasing 1,000,000 sterile males.

Phytosanitary measures

Consignments of fruits of Citrus and Fortunella from countries where B. minax 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 B. minax 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 mostly not been developed for the Asiatic citrus fruit flies, since citrus is not much exported from the countries where they occur. Schedules developed for Ceratitis capitata on citrus will probably be adequate, for example, cold treatment in transit (such as 11, 12 or 14 days at 0.5, 1 or 1.5°C, respectively; USDA, 1994). Zhao et al. (1995) used gamma irradiation to as a post-harvest treatment to kill larvae in pummelo, tangerine and sweet orange.

Plants of citrus transported with roots from countries where B. minax occurs should be free from soil, or the soil should be treated against puparia. The plants should not carry fruits. Citrus plants are in any case prohibited from importation in many countries because of other quarantine pests.


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Achterberg Cvan, 1999. The Palaearctic species of the genus Diachasmimorpha Viereck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Opiinae). Zoologische Mededelingen, No. 73:1-10; 26 ref.

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.

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.

Enderlein G, 1920. Zur Kenntnis tropischer Frucht-Bohrfliegen. Zoologische Jahrbucher. Abteilung fuer Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere, 43:336-360.

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

Fan JA, Zhao XQ, Zhu J, 1994. A study on cold-tolerance and diapause in Tetradacus citri Chen. Journal of Southwest Agricultural University, 16(6):532-534

Guo EPing, Lu XueZhong, Ouyang YiFeng, Yan XingFa, 2008. Study on the biological characteristics of citrus fruit fly and its control. South China Fruits, No.2:20-21.

IIE, 1991. Bactrocera minax Enderlein. Distribution Maps of Pests No. 526. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Liang GQ, Hancock DL, Xu W, Liang F, 1993. Notes on the Dacinae of southern China (Diptera: Tephritidae). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society, 32:137-140.

Lin LiLi, Wu JiaJiao, Zeng Ling, Liang GuangWen, Hu XueNan, Mo RenHao, 2007. Rapid identification of two species of Tetradacus by PCR-RFLP. Chinese Bulletin of Entomology, 44(4):588-592.

Ming Yue, 1985. Identification of two species of Chinese citrus flies. Plant Quarantine, 1:35-39.

Nath, D. K., 1972. Callantra minax (Enderlein) (Tephrytidae: Diptera), a new record of Ceratitinid fruitfly on orange fruits (Citrus reticulata Blanco) in India. Indian Journal of Entomology, 34(3), 246.

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.

USDA, 1994. Treatment manual. Frederick, USA: USDA/APHIS.

Wang HuaSong, Hu JianGuo, Lu DaGuang, Kang Wen, Zhang HeQin, 1995. Control of Chinese citrus fly in large area by releasing irradiated sterile flies. Chinese Journal of Biological Control, 11(4):156-159; 5 ref.

Wang Xing-Jian, 1998. The fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) of the East Asian region. Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica, 21(supplement):1-338.

White IM, Elson-Harris MM, 1994. Fruit Flies of Economic Significance. Their Identification and Bionomics. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

White IM, Wang XJ, 1992. Taxonomic notes on some dacine (Diptera: Tephritidae) fruit flies associated with citrus, olives and cucurbits. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 82(2):275-279

Wu ShengHai, Zhang ZiLin, Liang De3Gui, 2008. The reasons for occurrence of citrus fruit fly (Bactrocera minax) and its control. South China Fruits, No.4:24-26.

Xiang ChangHai, Zheng Jun, 2008. The occurrence of citrus fruit fly and its control. South China Fruits, No.2:17-18.

Zhang YA, 1989. Citrus fruit flies of Sichuan Province (China). Bulletin OEPP, 19(4):649-654

Zhao XueQian, Fan JingAn, Xie ChengLun, Qin Zhen, Li Gang, Zhu Jun, 1995. A study of the influence of gamma irradiation (Co) on the larvae of Tetradacus citri (Chen). Journal of Southwest Agricultural University, 17(2):126-129

Distribution References

Achterberg C van, 1999. The Palaearctic species of the genus Diachasmimorpha Viereck (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Opiinae). Zoologische Mededelingen. 1-10.

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

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

Enderlein G, 1920. A Contribution to the Knowledge of tropical Fruit-flies. (Zur Kenntnis tropischer Frucht-Bohrfliegen.). Zoologische Jahrbucher. 43 (1-4), 336-360.

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

Liang G Q, Hancock D L, Xu W, Liang F, 1993. Notes on the Dacinae of southern China (Diptera: Tephritidae). Journal of the Australian Entomological Society. 32 (2), 137-140.

UK, CAB International, 1991. Bactrocera minax. [Distribution map]. In: Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, Wallingford, UK: CAB International. Map 526. DOI:10.1079/DMPP/20056600526

Distribution Maps

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