All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory - Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Diptera - Fruit flies

Trypeta tortilis Coquillett

Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz - FDACS/DPI















Fruit flies

Our interpretation of Trypeta tortilis follows that of Norrbom & Han who are currently revising this genus. As such this species includes T. sigma (Phillips) as a junior synonym; however, this interpretation may be overly simplistic as we have not yet seen the full range of variation in wing pattern in specimens reared from the host Senecio aureus (Asteraceae) compared to trapped specimens.




Size: Approximate lengths: wing-6.5 mm, body-5.5 mm.
Wing pattern: a bold, black ‘S' (‘Trypeta sigma' pattern) or a weak basal stripe plus three, stronger brown stripes that may be separate or variably connected along the anterior and posterior wing edges (‘Trypeta tortilis' pattern).
Body color: orangish with yellow highlights.
Oviscape: about 0.4 mm long, somewhat darker color than abdomen, tapered to a broadly truncate tip.


Trypeta tortilis, Adult, Cades Cove, June 2002, Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz - FDACS/DPI.
Trypeta tortilis, larval blotch mines in Senecio aureus, Cades Cove, June 2002, Photograph by Gary J. Steck.
Senecio aureus, Host for T. tortilis, Oconaluftee, May 2002, Photograph by Gary J. Steck

Similar species:

 No other species of Trypeta are known from GSMNP. Other banded-wing, orange/yellow-bodied tephritids such as Strauzia, Zonosemata, and, perhaps, the yellow-bodied Rhagoletis are superficially similar.

(GSMNP in green)

 Widespread in northern states south to Tennessee (GSMNP) and North Carolina (GSMNP) and also in western states.


 In Park:

Cades Cove, Newfound Gap, and The Purchase. Recently, additional specimens were collected from Greenbrier near the Ranger Station by D. & M. Davis.



 Senecio aureus (L.) (Asteraceae)

Photograph by Gary J. Steck



 This species has been collected over a wide range of elevations from Cades Cove (~500m) to The Purchase and Newfound Gap (1500m+). The preferred habitat appears to be wooded areas near streams.


 Appears to be multivoltine. Adults have been collected as early as May and as late as September. The only larval collection to date was in mid-June in Cades Cove. This species is a leaf miner in Asteraceae.

 Breeding and Courtship:


 Oviposition and Immature Stages:


 Predators and Parasites:


 Community Ecology:



Populations of this fly depend on maintenance of its host plant populations.

 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



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.
Steck, G. J. and B. D. Sutton. 2000. New records for Tephritidae (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Insecta Mundi 14: 256.


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.
multivoltine - Having several generations per year.

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

Last Updated: September 3, 2002