All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory - Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Diptera - Fruit flies

Stenopa vulnerata (Loew)

Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz - FDACS/DPI















Fruit flies





Size: Approximately 7.5-9.0 mm long from antennae to tip of wings.
Wing pattern: Bold, brownish-black bands with deep hyaline incisions, and two tiny red spots near base.
Body color: Dark, brownish-black throughout. Rows of white setae on the thorax.
Oviscape: Concolorous with body, about 1 mm long, tapered to a blunt tip.


Stenopa vulnerata, Adult, The Purchase, August 2002, Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz - FDACS/DPI.
Stenopa vulnerata, Adult Female, The Purchase, August 2002, Photograph by Gary J. Steck.
Senecio aureus, Host for Stenopa vulnerata, Photograph by Gary J. Steck.  

Similar species:

Similar bold, black wing patterns are seen in some Rhagoletis species and Procecidochares atra. Rhagoletis spp. can be distinguished by their white scutellum. Procecidochares atra are smaller, with less extensive black bands near the wing base.

(GSMNP in green)

Western and northeastern U. S. and southern Canada south to North Carolina and Tennessee (GSMNP).



 In Park:

The Purchase and Sugarlands.



Golden Ragwort, Senecia aureus (L.) (Asteraceae).

Photograph by Gary J. Steck



 Open sunny fields, meadows, and grassy balds at a wide range of elevations. In Ohio they prefer open floodplain forests (Novak & Foote 1975).


 Adults have been collected in August and September in GSMNP. In northeastern Ohio the flight time is mid-July to early October, and there is only a single generation per year. The egg stage lasts a few days, then larvae feed in the bud or young shoot through the fall months. Larval development slows to a halt as first or second instars during the winter and resumes in the spring. Feeding sites develop into recognizable galls at the base of the plant in the spring, and pupariation occurs in June (Novak & Foote 1975).

 Breeding and Courtship:

 Novak & Foote (1975) reported complex reproductive behavior that takes place on the host plant. Males blow bubbles and produce froth masses that they deposit on leaves or stems of the host. While females feed on the froth males initiate copulation.

 Oviposition and Immature Stages:

 Females oviposit into young vegetative buds or developing shoots near the base of the plant in August and early September in Ohio. Immature stages were described in detail by Novak & Foote (1975).

 Predators and Parasites:

  None reported.

 Community Ecology:



Populations of this fly depend on maintenance of its host plant populations, which thrive in open floodplain forests, and wet shaded areas around seeps and along stream margins.

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

Web Page Development:

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



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.
Novak, J.A. and B.A. Foote. 1975. Biology and immature stages of fruit flies: the genus Stenopa. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 48: 42-52.
Sutton, B. D., G. J. Steck, and D. Defoe. Additional records for Tephritidae (Diptera) from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (unpublished manuscript)


instar - A stage in larval development between molts. There are three active larval instars in higher Diptera.
oviposition - The act of laying eggs.
oviscape - The hardened sheath enclosing the needle-like ovipositor, or egg-laying structure, of female tephritid flies.
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.
scutellum - The terminal portion of the thorax, usually hemispherical in shape and set apart by a suture.

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

Last Updated: October 24, 2002