Bug Blog

New Fruit Fly Discovery in Brazil

New Fruit Flies in Brazil

Two new fruit fly species belonging to the genus Rhinoleucophenga were recently discovered by Brazilian scientists. By fermenting fruits and vegetables to sample flies in the Brazilian Cerrado, the scientists discovered two specimens they could not identify. Although similar to other known species, this was a new species altogether. The new species as well as other significant findings are described in the Journal of Insect Science.

“One of the unknown species was similar to R. obesa, but the male genitalia were different,” they revealed in their report. “The second of the unknown species resembled Rhinoleucophenga stigma.” After comparing the specimens with ones in the Coleção Entomológica do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz in Rio de Janeiro, the scientists determined that they were indeed new species.

Fruit flies are common in our homes, restaurants, supermarkets and anywhere food is allowed to rot and ferment. Adults are roughly 1/8 inch long and usually have red eyes. The front of their bodies is usually tan and the rear is black.  Fruit flies lay eggs near the surface of fermenting foods and other moist, organic materials. Once hatched, the larvae feed near the surface of the fermenting mass. Surface-feeding of the larvae allows damaged or over-ripened portions of fruits and vegetables to be cut away without having to discard the entire portion. The reproductive potential of fruit flies is staggering. An adult female is capable of laying 500 eggs, though the entire lifecycle from egg to adult is completed in about a week.

The best prevention against fruit flies is to eliminate their food sources. Produce which has ripened should be eaten, discarded or refrigerated. Cracked or damaged sections of fruits and vegetables should be cut away and discarded as eggs or larvae may be present in the wounded area. A single rotting piece of produce or forgotten juice spill can breed thousands of fruit flies.