EPPO Global Database

Anastrepha obliqua(ANSTOB)

EPPO Datasheet: Anastrepha obliqua

Last updated: 2021-01-08


Preferred name: Anastrepha obliqua
Authority: (Macquart)
Taxonomic position: Animalia: Arthropoda: Hexapoda: Insecta: Diptera: Tephritidae
Other scientific names: Acrotoxa obliqua (Macquart), Anastrepha fraterculus mombinpraeoptans Sein, Anastrepha fraterculus var. ligata Lima, Anastrepha fraterculus var. mombinpraeoptans Sein, Anastrepha trinidadensis Greene, Tephritis obliqua Macquart, Trypeta obliqua (Macquart)
Common names in English: Antillean fruit fly, West Indian fruit fly
view more common names online...
Notes on taxonomy and nomenclature

This species was first described by Macquart (1835) as Tephritis obliqua, although for many years that name was confused and was not  recognized as pertaining to this species (Steyskal, 1975), thus it has been known by a variety of other names. The current combination was proposed by Schiner (1868). The species has also been described as Anastrepha fraterculus var. mombinpraeoptans Seín (1933), Anastrepha fraterculus var. ligata Lima (1934), and Anastrepha trinidadensis Green (1934), which are synonyms. Most records of Anastrepha acidusa (Walker) are misidentifications of this species, although A. acidusa is also a valid but rare species. Name, host plant, and distribution data for A. obliqua and other fruit flies are available under Fruit Fly Databases on the USDA Compendium of Fruit Fly Host Information (https://coffhi.cphst.org/).

EPPO Categorization: A1 list
EU Categorization: A1 Quarantine pest (Annex II A)
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HOSTS 2020-08-31

This species is one of the most significant pests of mango (Mangifera indica) and hog plums and mombins (Spondias spp.). It also attacks carambola (Averrhoa carambola), guavas (Psidium spp.), and a range of other fruit crops. A total of 90 species have been reported as natural hosts, although the records for a few of these hosts are questionable. Citrus species are only occasional hosts. An additional 21 commercial fruit species have been infested under artificial conditions (Norrbom, 2004).

Host list: Anacardium occidentale, Anacardium, Averrhoa carambola, Campomanesia guazumifolia, Citrus, Eugenia myrcianthes, Eugenia stipitata, Eugenia uniflora, Malpighia glabra, Mangifera indica, Myrciaria cauliflora, Psidium acutangulum, Psidium guajava, Sarcomphalus joazeiro, Spondias mombin, Spondias purpurea, Spondias tuberosa, fruit trees


Anastrepha obliqua is one of the most widespread species of Anastrepha, occurring from Mexico and the West Indies to northern Argentina. It is invasive in the Lesser Antilles (CABI, 2008). 

Reports of its introduction to Bermuda were erroneous (Woodley & Hilburn 1994). Records from the Bahamas (White & Elson-Harris 1992) are also doubtful. It was temporarily invasive in Key West, Florida (USA) in the 1930s (Steck, 2001), and is infrequently trapped in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. It has been intercepted in Chile but is not established. 

North America: Mexico
Central America and Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Virgin Islands (British), Virgin Islands (US)
South America: Brazil (Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Tocantins), Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela

BIOLOGY 2020-08-31

As in Anastrepha spp. generally, eggs are laid in fruits. In the case of A. obliqua they are laid singly, just below the skin with the short anterior lobe that is believed to have a respiratory function, projecting slightly outside the fruit (Murillo & Jirón, 1994, Aluja et al., 1999). Mean development time for eggs, larvae and pupae together is 48.5 days, depending on the host fruit and temperature and other environmental conditions (Birke et al., 2013). Larvae pass through three instars and feed in the pulp of the fruit (Aluja et al., 1999). Mature larvae exit the fruit and pupariate in the soil. Females mark fruit in which they have oviposited with an oviposition deterring pheromone (Aluja et al., 1999). Adult males produce a pheromone and lek to attract females for mating. Calling occurs in the day, with the highest peak in the morning (Birke et al., 2013). Adults occur throughout the year (Christenson & Foote, 1960), with a pronounced peak associated with the fruiting season of mango and Spondias (Hedström, 1994; MIDA, 2013).



Attacked fruit have tiny oviposition punctures, but these and other symptoms of damage are often difficult to detect in the early stages of infestation. Considerable damage may occur inside the fruit before symptoms are visible externally, often as networks of tunnels accompanied by rotting.


Immature stages

The identification of larvae of Anastrepha species, as is the case for most fruit flies, is extremely difficult. Larvae have been described for only 9% of the species of Anastrepha (Steck et al., 2019). Anastrepha obliqua is included in the key of Steck et al. (1990) and the interactive key of Carroll et al. (2004) for third stage larvae, but it cannot be reliably distinguished from similar species such as A. fraterculus and A. suspensa. Steck et al. (1990), White & Elson-Harris (1992), Carroll et al. (2004) and Frías et al. (2006) provided descriptive information for the third instar.

The larvae of A. obliqua feed in the pulp of their host fruits. As is the case for other Anastrepha species, the larvae are whitish, 7.5-9.0 mm long, lacking an external head capsule. The two mandibles, or mouthhooks, are strongly developed. The body is tapered anteriorly and truncate posteriorly. The posterior spiracular plate is weak, unpigmented, without a peritreme, and with three openings arranged with their medial ends converging, the dorsal and ventral ones subparallel or oriented at less than 90°. There are 6-11 oral ridges, and 9-18 tubules on the anterior spiracle. Thoracic segments 2 and 3 have 2-5 rows of spinules dorsally, but dorsal spinules are absent on the abdominal segments. The posterior spiracular openings are about 3 times as long as wide, and the spiracular hairs are in dorsal and ventral bundles of 8-17 hairs and lateral bundles of 4-12 hairs branched on the apical third. The anal lobes are large, protuberant and not grooved (Rodriguez et al., submitted).

The eggs of A. obliqua are distinctive compared to most other species of Anastrepha. They bear a short lobe on the anterior end distal to the micropyle. Although the eggs have not been described for the majority of Anastrepha species, to date only that of A. barbiellinii, a non-pest, is known to have a similar short lobe.


As for other Anastrepha species, adults of A. obliqua are easily separated from other tephritids by a simple wing venation character; vein M1, the longitudinal vein that reaches the wing margin just behind the wing apex, curves strongly forward before meeting the costa on the wing margin without a visible angle. Furthermore, as is the case for most Anastrepha species, A. obliqua has a characteristic wing pattern composed of 3 orange and brown bands: the ‘C-band’ on the anterior margin from the base to near midlength; the ’S-band’, a sideways S-shaped band from the wing base, curving forward across the middle of the wing (in A. obliqua usually narrowly connected to the C-band, but with a triangular marginal hyaline area between them), then running along the anterior margin to the wing apex; and the ‘V-band’, an inverted V-shaped band on the posterior apical half of the wing.

Identification to species is more difficult. It is essential to examine the aculeus (which is usually inside the oviscape, the basal tube-like part of the ovipositor) of a female specimen to achieve positive identification. The only comprehensive identification tool for Anastrepha is the online key by Norrbom et al. (2012). Adults, especially males, of A. obliqua are difficult to separate from those of A. fraterculus and various other similar species of the fraterculus group; if necessary, specimens should be referred to a specialist. Adult females of A. obliqua can be distinguished from those of other species of Anastrepha by the following combination of characters: Setae orange brown to dark red brown; mesopleuron and scutum without brown markings, without brown spot medially on scuto-scutellar suture; subscutellum entirely yellow to orange; mediotergite usually narrowly brown laterally; V-band proximal arm extending more than 1/3 distance from apex of vein M4 to apex of vein CuA+CuP; oviscape 1.5–1.9 mm long, 0.52–0.61 times mesonotum length; aculeus 1.30–1.75 mm long; tip 0.15–0.25 mm long, with distal 0.67–0.82 distinctly serrate and with lateral margin of serrate part slightly curved dorsally; 0.08–0.12 mm wide. Gravid females can be distinguished from similar pest species such as A. fraterculus by the lobe on the egg.


Anastrepha obliqua can be distinguished from many other species of Anastrepha based on differences in the DNA barcode region of the cytochrome oxidase I gene (Barr et al., 2017a), but it cannot be distinguished from some species in the fraterculus group, including A. fraterculus, by this region. It can be distinguished from A. suspensa by differences in the ITS2 region (Barr et al., 2017b). Ruiz-Arce et al. (2012) explored the phylogeography of Anastrepha obliqua using two mitochondrial genes (COI and ND6), and Passos et al. (2018) explored the genetic structure and diversity in Brazilian populations based on COI. Scally et al. (2016) investigated intra-specific relationships within A. obliqua using a multi-locus data set (7 nuclear and 2 mitochondrial loci).

Detection and inspection methods

No specialized male lures are available for Anastrepha species. Monitoring for adults utilizes traps with protein-based or other ammonia-emitting lures, which are much less effective than the male lures used for various dacine fruit flies (Diaz-Fleischer et al., 2009). McPhail traps baited with torula yeast, hydrolyzed protein, or other fermenting protein lures, or Multilure traps baited with ammonium acetate and putrescine are typically used for the capture of Anastrepha species (Thomas et al., 2001; Adaime et al., 2011).


Anastrepha adults are capable of long-distance dispersal, thus natural movement is an important means of spread (Aluja et al., 1999).

In international trade, the major means of fruit fly dispersal to previously uninfested areas is via transport of fruit containing live eggs or larvae. For the EPPO region, the most important imported fruit liable to carry A. obliqua is Mangifera indica, and to a lesser extent, various other hosts. There is also a risk of the transport of fruit fly puparia in soil or packaging.


Economic impact

Anastrepha species are the most serious fruit fly pests in the tropical Americas (Norrbom & Foote, 1989), along with the introduced Ceratitis capitata and Bactrocera carambolae. Anastrepha obliqua is considered the most important fruit fly pest in the West Indies, and it and A. ludens are the most significant pest fruit flies in Mexico and Central America, especially on mango (Whervin, 1974, Enkerlin et al., 1989). In South America A. obliqua is second in importance in many areas only to the A. fraterculus complex and Ceratitis capitata.  


Bait sprays, typically a mixture of Spinosad, malathion, or other insecticides and a food-based attractant, such as hydrolyzed yeast, are the most common type of chemical control for A. obliqua (Bateman, 1982; Roessler, 1989). Cultural practices, such as destroying all fallen and infested fruits, are also used. Soil drenches around host plants with appropriate pesticides are used to kill larvae and pupae during eradication programs (Stark et al., 2014). Biological control has had limited success (Niklaus-Ruiz and Basedow, 1997, Ohashi et al., 1997), but Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Braconidae) continues to be mass reared and released in Mexico (Ramírez y Ramírez et al., 2020). Sterile insect technique (SIT) is used for suppression and eradication in area-wide management programs to control A. obliqua in Mexico, primarily in the north to maintain fly free areas (Ramírez y Ramírez et al., 2020). 

Phytosanitary risk

Anastrepha obliqua has a broad range of hosts and is a major pest throughout its range, especially on mango. It is invasive at least in the Lesser Antilles (CABI, 2008) and has been trapped in California, Florida, Texas and other states in the USA (Steck, 1991). Fu et al. (2014) modelled its potential geographic distribution and predicted its ability to establish throughout much of the tropical and subtropical areas of the world. It occurs primarily in lowland, tropical areas with hot climates, and is not capable of surviving the cold winters of the northern and central part of the EPPO region, thus the risk of establishment of A. obliqua is limited to the warmer southern parts of the EPPO region. Populations might enter and multiply during the summer months. In southern areas, some such populations might survive one or more winters, though in any case the direct losses from such introductions would probably not be high. The major risk for EPPO countries arises from the probable imposition of stricter phytosanitary restrictions on exported fruits (particularly to America and Japan) if any Anastrepha sp. enters and multiplies, even temporarily.


Consignments of fruits of Citrus spp., Eugenia spp., Mangifera indica, Prunus persica, Psidium spp., Spondias spp., Syzygium spp., and other reported host plants from countries where A. obliqua occurs should be inspected for symptoms of infestation, and suspected infested fruits should be cut open to look for larvae. Such fruits should be imported from areas where A. obliqua does not occur or from a place of production found free from the pest by regular inspection for 3 months before harvest. Some fruits may be treated in transit by cold treatment (e.g., 13, 15 or 17 days at 0.5, 1.0 or 1.5°C, respectively), by hot water immersion (Nascimento et al., 1992) (for mango, 46°C for 65 to 110 minutes depending on fruit size), by vapour heat (e.g., at 43°C for 4-6 h) (USDA, 2020), forced hot-air quarantine treatment (Mangan & Ingle, 1992), or irradiation. Ethylene dibromide was previously widely used as a fumigant but is now generally withdrawn because of its carcinogenicity. Methyl bromide is approved on a very limited basis; e.g., 1 treatment schedule (T101-j-2-1; 40 g/m3 for 2 h at 21-29.5°C) is currently approved by USDA (2020) to treat oranges, tangerines and grapefruit from Mexico under pre-clearance. Irradiation at 70 gy is considered effective treatment for immature stages of Anastrepha obliqua (USDA, 2020).

Plants of host species transported with roots from countries where A. obliqua occurs should be free from soil, or the soil should not contain fruits or seeds or be treated to kill any puparia.

REFERENCES 2020-08-31

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Mangan RL, Ingle SJ (1992) Forced hot-air quarantine treatment for mangoes infested with West Indian fruit fly. Journal of Economic Entomology 85, 1859-1864.

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Nascimento AS, Malavasi A, Morgante JS, Duarte ALA (1992) Hot water immersion treatment for mangoes infested with Anastrepha fraterculus, A. obliqua and Ceratitis capitata. Journal of Economic Entomology 85, 456-460.

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This datasheet was extensively revised in 2020 by Allen L. Norrbom. His valuable contribution is gratefully acknowledged.

How to cite this datasheet?

EPPO (2024) Anastrepha obliqua. EPPO datasheets on pests recommended for regulation. https://gd.eppo.int (accessed 2024-04-13)

Datasheet history 2021-01-08

This datasheet was first published in the EPPO Bulletin in 1983, revised in the two editions of 'Quarantine Pests for Europe' in 1992 and 1997, as well as in 2020. It is now maintained in an electronic format in the EPPO Global Database. The sections on 'Identity', ‘Hosts’, and 'Geographical distribution' are automatically updated from the database. For other sections, the date of last revision is indicated on the right.

CABI/EPPO (1992/1997) Quarantine Pests for Europe (1st and 2nd edition). CABI, Wallingford (GB).

EPPO (1983) Data sheets on quarantine organisms No. 41, Trypetidae (non-European). Bulletin OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2338.1983.tb01715.x