Among the Tephritidae, medflies are the most polyphagous species. This means that they feed from the widest variety of host-fruits. Over 200 types of fruits and vegetables have been recorded as hosts for this parasitic species. Species consumed include fruits of the following plant families: Anacardiaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Loganiaceae, Meliaceae, Oleaceae, Podocarpaceae, Rosaceae, Rubiacaea, Sapotaceae and Solanaceae. Though preferences differ geographically, thin-skinned, slightly hard, ripe, and succulent fruits are desirable.
Adult (mature) and larval (immature) stages differ in their feeding habits. As mentioned under “Development”, larvae eat their way through the fleshy host fruit. At this immature stage, nutrition is essential and will determine adult size, time of development, and the percentage of larvae that emerge. Studies have shown that diets with higher concentrations of glucose and sucrose lead to better development than those containing high starch or maltose concentrations. Adult medflies require carbohydrates from the juices of ripe fruit, and protein from bird feces and decomposing fruit. Adults feed in mid-morning and late afternoon.
Adult medflies prefer the portion of the fruit in which there is more nutritive value. For example, the lower portions of orange and papaya fruits contain the bulk of the nutrition. If placed on the top portion of these fruits, a medfly will move to the lower part. In contrast, flies placed on the lower portion of the fruit remain there to feed.
Plant Foods: fruit; sap or other plant fluids
Other Foods: dung
Primary Diet: herbivore (Frugivore )