All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory - Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Diptera - Fruit flies

Neotephritis finalis Hendel

Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz - FDACS/DPI















Fruit flies




Size: Approximately 5.5-6.5 mm long from antennae to tip of wings.
Wing pattern: Reticulate on brownish-black background, pale in basal half, dark in apical half with six hyaline spots forming a distinct triangle.
Body color: Grayish-brown, thorax with microscopic silvery to golden pile.
Oviscape: Dark reddish-brown, with darker ring around tip, relatively long, about 1 mm in length.


Neotephritis finalis, Adult male, Cades Cove, August 2002, Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz - FDACS/DPI.

Similar species:

 No other species of Neotephritis have been found in GSMNP or eastern North America. Other mottled wing tephritids such as Tephritis and Euaresta are superficially similar.

(GSMNP in green; localized records in states indicated by red circle)

Widespread throughout the US and beyond reaching northern Florida.



 In Park:

To date Neotephritis finalis has only been found in eastern Cades Cove but a wider distribution in GSMNP is expected.



 Neotephritis finalis has been reared from flower heads of one as yet unidentified yellow Asteraceae host in GSMNP. It has been recorded from many different plants in other parts of its range, including members of genera such as Aster, Gaillardia, Helianthus, Xanthium, and others (Wasbauer 1972). [others recorded in Wasbauer may be only western(?): Actinomeris, Balsamorhiza, Encelia, Helianthella, Wyethia - none of these listed in GSMNP plant list] It is commonly reared from sunflower, Helianthus annuus, especially in the western U.S. and Canada but causes negligible damage (Beirne 1971, Arthur & Mason 1989)..



 Open sunny fields and meadows and fringing woodland edges at lower elevations.


 Multivoltine. Adults and larvae have been found during August in GSMNP. The egg stage last 2-3 days, the larval stages about 12 days, and the pupal stage about 9 days; adults live up to at least 60 days in the laboratory. Populations are multivoltine and the flight time is year round in southern California (Goeden et al. 1987). Total time from egg to adult emergence was 18-22 days, and adults were kept alive up to 147 days in the laboratory in Canada (Arthur & Mason 1989).

 Breeding and Courtship:

Pairs were captured in copula on their host plant in GSMNP. Courtship and mating behavior that is rather typical of many tephritids was observed in the laboratory by Goeden et al. 1987, who also reported territorial behavior between males in the field.

 Oviposition and Immature Stages:

In laboratory studies, females have been reported to oviposit on virtually all flowering stages of Helianthus annuus, variously between the bracts of unopened buds to directly into the flowers of open heads (Arthur & Mason 1989). Larvae feed on immature achenes and pupariate in flower heads of its hosts from which adults emerge. The female's maximum lifetime egg production ranged from 102-147 eggs (Arthur & Mason 1989, Goeden et al. 1987). Immature stages were described in detail by Arthur & Mason (1989) and Phillips (1946).

 Predators and Parasites:

No specific details for GSMNP. Eurytoma and Pteromalus (Hymenoptera) larval or larval-pupal parasitoids were reported from California (Goeden et al. 1987).

 Community Ecology:

 Unknown in GSMNP. In other parts of its range, larvae of N. finalis co-occur in host plant populations with agromyzid flies and other tephritids, such as species of Paracantha and Trupanea (Goeden et al. 1987).


Populations of this fly depend on maintenance of its host plant populations, which, in turn, require regular disturbances to maintain open meadows and edges along forests and roadsides.

 Special Protection Status:

- Rangewide: None

- In Park: All plants and animals are protected within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Collection requires a permit which is usually granted only for research or educational purposes.



Gary J. Steck, Ph.D., Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Gainesville
Bruce D. Sutton, Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Gainesville


Jeffrey Lotz, Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Gainesville

Web Page Development:

Bruce D. Sutton, Florida State Collection of Arthropods, Gainesville


Arthur, A.P. and P.G. Mason. 1989. Description of immature stages and notes on the biology of Neotephritis finalis (Loew) (Diptera: Tephritidae), a pest of sunflowers in Saskatchewan, Canada. The Canadian Entomologist 121: 729-735.
Beirne, B.P. 1971. Pest insects of annual crop plants in Canada, II. Diptera. Memoirs Entomological Society Canada 78: 48-70.
Foote, R. H., F. L. Blanc, and A. L. Norrbom. 1993. Handbook of the fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) of America north of Mexico. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 571 pp.
Goeden, R.D., T.D. Cadatal, and G.A. Cavender. 1987. Life history of Neotephritis finalis (Loew) on native Asteraceae in southern California. Proceedings Entomological Society Washington 89: 552-558.
Phillips, V. T. 1946. The biology and identification of trypetid larvae (Diptera: Tephritidae). American Entomol. Soc., Mem. No. 12, 161 pp + XVI plates.
Wasbauer, M.S. 1972. An annotated host catalog of the fruit flies of America north of Mexico. California Dept of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology, Occasional Papers No. 19, 172 pp.


achene - The fruit produced by members of the family Asteraceae comprising a single seed and its enveloping shell.
hyaline - Clear or transparent.
oviposition - The act of laying eggs.
oviscape - The hardened sheath enclosing the needle-like ovipositor, or egg-laying structure, of female tephritid flies.
pile - dense mat of fine, hair-like setae.
puparium - The hardened, cocoon-like structure, unique to Diptera, which develops from the cast 3rd instar skin, within which metamorphosis from pupa to adult takes place.
reticulate - Net- or web-like, or a pattern of numerous hyaline spots on a pigmented background.
multivoltine - Having several generations per year.

Please send any questions or comments to G. J. Steck or B. D. Sutton

Last Updated: SNovember 1, 2002