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Spotted-wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii)

Drosphila suzukii is another invasive fly pest found in Florida. Despite being referred to as a fruit fly, this fly is in the family Drosophilidae. True fruit flies belong to the family Tephritidae, which are larger and often considered pests. Drosphila suzukii is unique from other flies in the genus Drosophila because it will infest unripened fruit. Females puncture fruit with the ovipositor, leaving sunken depression on the fruit, and larvae cause feeding damage within the fruits. Wounds also cause secondary bacterial infections which lead to fruit rot. In Florida, these flies can cause economic loss on small fruit crops, such as strawberries and blueberries, as well as stone fruits such as peaches.

Photo: Shane McEvey 2017

Spotted-wing Drosophila is a small brown fly with black horizontal stripes across the abdomen. The males have a dark spot on the front edge of the wing tip. There are several other species of Drosophila in Florida that have a similar appearance, and so expert identification is often necessary to determine if they are D. suzukii. For more information, you can check out the UF-IFAS Featured Creatures publication or this PPQ Pest Alert