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Citrus Pests


Mexican fruit fly


Scientific name


Anastrepha ludens (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Similar species


Other species in the genus Anastrepha including:

Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa

  • Mexican fruit fly, A. ludens has a much longer ovipositor (only 1.45 – 1.6 mm long in A. suspensa).
  • Wing band color is pale yellow in A. ludens and dark brown in A. suspensa.



United States: Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. Currently listed as eradicated from these states.

Worldwide: Central America and Mexico.

Native to Mexico and Central America.

Diagnostic characteristics

  • Larger than a housefly, 7 - 10 mm (0.28 - 0.39 in.) in length.
  • Yellow to brown body and wing coloration.
  • Green eyes.
  • Females with relatively long, tubular ovipositor sheaths relative to body size. Ovipositor sheath is 3.35 - 4.7 mm (0.13 - 0.19 in.) in length.
  • Forewing is 6.6 - 9.0 mm (0.26 - 0.35 in.) in length.
  • Tan to dark brownish-yellow.
  • Pupate in the soil.
  • Three larval instars.
  • White or taking on the color of the food it ingests.
  • Cylindrical, elongated with mouth hooks.
  • Final instar is 9 - 12 mm (0.35 - 0.47 in.) in length.
  • Cylindrical.
  • Tapered at one end.


Citrus hosts

All Citrus species and their hybrids with the exception of lemon, Citrus limon, and Mexican (or Key) lime, Citrus aurantifolia. Strong preference for grapefruit, Citrus paradisi.

Non-citrus hosts

A partial list includes:

  • Annona spp.
  • apple, Malus domesticus
  • avocado, Persea americana
  • chapote, Diospyros texana
  • guava, Psidium guajava
  • mamey, Pouteria sapota
  • mango, Mangifera indica
  • peach, Prunus spp.
  • pear, Pyrus spp.
  • pomegranate, Punica granatum
  • quince,Cydonia oblonga
  • rose-apple, Syzygium aqueum
  • strawberry guava, Psidium littorale
  • white sapote, Casimiroa edulis

Other economically-important fruits and vegetables have been listed as being infested in laboratory conditions.

Host damage


Larvae burrow into the pulp of developing fruit and leave through a large exit hole.



Adult females deposit groups of eggs on to the fruit surface as they begin to develop color. Eggs hatch in 6 - 12 days. Larvae burrow into interior of the fruit to feed on the pulp for 3 - 4 weeks. Larvae exit the fruit to pupate in the soil. Adults may live 11 - 16 months and lay over 1500 eggs. Breeding is continuous with 4 - 6 generations per year.



Weems, Jr., H.V., J.B. Heppner, and G.J. Steck. 2012. Featured creatures fact sheet: Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens (Loew) (Insecta: Diptera: Tephritidae). EENY-201. University of Florida. (

(NAPPO) North American Plant Protection Organization. 2012. Anastrepha ludens (Mexican fruit fly) eradicated in the United States. Phytosanitary Alert System. (

Arizona Department of Agriculture. 2012. Mexican Fruit Fly (MFF): Anastrepha ludens (Loew) Order - Diptera: Family - Tephritidae. (

(CARI) Caribbean Pest Information Network. 2012. Anastrepha ludens. (



Weeks, J.A., A.C. Hodges, and N.C. Leppla


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012