A new website called ‘Fruit Fly Identification Australia’ https://fruitflyidentification.org.au/ has been launched to assist with fruit fly knowledge and species identification.

The website is an output of one of the collaborative projects completed under the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC). While the new site’s primary audience is lab-based diagnosticians and biosecurity field officers, it’s a useful reference for anyone wanting to confirm a finding or discover more about a particular fruit fly species.

This website includes high-resolution diagnostic images, a diagnostic key for 65 species, species pages detailing information about all high priority target pests and non-pest close relatives and a glossary of morphological terms.

As many fruit flies are similar in appearance, being able to distinguish established species from exotic species, and pests from non-pests is an important part of a robust biosecurity system. In the case of a suspected incursion, rapid diagnosis is particularly important and would assist in containing and eradicating the populations before they become established.

Fruit flies are recognised as one of the world’s most destructive and economically important horticultural pests. More than 4,000 species occur globally, with a combined host range which includes nearly every fruit and fruiting vegetable.

Two fruit fly species are the focus of pest control programs within Australia – the Queensland fruit fly (Bactrocera tryoni) which is native to Australia, and the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) which was introduced in the 1890s. There is a range of highly damaging fruit fly species currently not present in Australia that pose a significant risk to the sustainability of our horticultural industries. These include the Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) and Spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii).