All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory - Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Diptera - Fruit flies

Tephritis pura Johnson

Photograph by Jeffry Lotz - FDACS/DPI















Fruit flies




Size: Approximate lengths: wing-4.6 mm, female body-5.0 mm, male body-4.5 mm.
Wing pattern: large black areas punctuated with small, clear spots in anterior half of wing; dark rays at wing tips; small, clear spots more numerous in the posterior half of wing; and generally paler pattern on basal third of wing.
Body color: head, thorax and abdomen grayish-brown, legs yellowish.
Oviscape: 0.5-0.6 mm long, orange-brown, flattened, and tapered to blunt tip.


Tephritis pura, Adult Female, Cataloochee, June 2002, Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz - FDACS/DPI.
Solidago gigantea, Terminal stem swelling containing immature stage of Tephritis pura, Cataloochee, May 2002, Photograph by Gary J. Steck.
Solidago gigantea, Terminal stem swelling containing puparium of Tephritis pura, Cataloochee, May 2002, Photograph by Gary J. Steck.

Similar species:

 No other species of Tephritis are known from GSMNP. Other mottled-wing tephritids such as Campiglossa, Neotephitis, and Euaresta are superficially similar.

(GSMNP in green)

Southern Canada and northern half of US south to North Carolina and Tennessee (GSMNP) in the east.


 In Park:

Cades Cove, Sugarlands Visitor Center, Cataloochee Valley, Oconaluftee, The Purchase, and Lake Cheoah near Twentymile.



Solidago gigantea Ait. (primary host) and S. canadensis L. (secondary) (Asteraceae).

Solidago gigantea
Wisconsin State Herbarium
Photographer -Emmet J. Judziewicz



Wherever its host plant occurs, that is, most common at relatively low elevations below about 550 m and in disturbed areas especially in old fields; generally in open, sunny areas.


 Tephritis pura appears to be univoltine. Adults emerge in June-July after overwintering as eggs and/or early instar larvae in the host. By late May late instar larvae and shiny, black, elongate puparia are present in indistinct apical stem swellings.

 Breeding and Courtship:


 Oviposition and Immature Stages:

 Undocumented. Presumably, eggs are laid soon after adult eclosion in the basal plant shoots that will elongate into aerial stems the next season.

 Predators and Parasites:

 The larvae are heavily parasitized by hymenopteran ectoparasites.

 Community Ecology:

 Solidago species are host to many insects, including other tephritid flies. Their interrelationships with T. pura have not been investigated.


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.



Emmet J. Judziewicz, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point and Madison
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



Cronquist, A. 1980. Vascular flora of the southeastern United States. Vol. 1. Asteraceae. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 261 pp.
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.



eclosion - Emergence of adult stage from puparium.
ectoparasite - A parasite that feeds externally on its host.
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.
univoltine - Having one generation per year.

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

Last Updated: October 3, 2002