Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Hymenoptera, Apocrita, Chalcidoidea, Braconidae.

Morphology: Species of Fopius are mostly red-brown, with darker abdomens, very long antennae and very long ovipositors.

Geographical distribution: Species of Fopius, which are of Indo-Australian origin, have been introduced into many regions for the biological control of pestiferous fruit flies.

Life history: Species of Fopius are egg-pupal endoparasitoids of fruit flies. They place 1-2 eggs into the host egg and after eclosion the larva remains in the first instar, while the host larva grows and pupates. Growth of the parasitoid then resumes, and its adult emerges from the host puparium. Fertility of Fopius comes to 100-120 eggs/female, a generation usually develops in about 4-5 weeks, and longevity is 4-5 weeks.

Economic importance: Several introduced species of Fopius are major biological control factors of fruit flies in different parts of the world.

Two species are known in the Middle East

Fopius arisanus (Sonan)

(Also known as Biosteres arisanus (Sonan))

This species was brought to Hawaii (USA) in 1949, and after its success in controlling fruit fly pests was further introduced in Australia, Central America and various Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, as well as into the Mediterranean basin. Fopius arisanus attacks over 40 species of fruit flies; in some regions (e.g. French Polynesia) it almost totally controlled these pests. It reduces pest numbers not only by oviposition, but also by probing the host egg with the ovipositor, thus killing it. At times parasitoid attack rates on fruit flies exceed 80%; however parasitism rates vary with host species, and some tephritids are not attacked, or react by encapsulating the parasitoid egg. Number of eggs/female increases in the presence of more parasitoid females. In the Middle East it parasitizes two major pests Bactrocera oleae and Ceratitis capitata.

Several methods for mass-rearing this parasitoid have been published.

When _F. arisanus_ and the braconid _Diachasmimorpha tryoni_ Cameron) attack the same host, _F. arisanus_ is usually the winner.    

Fopius ceratitivorus Wharton

This species, of East-African origin, is only known to attack C. capitata. It was introduced to Guatemala, Hawaii and Israel. If it and F. arisanus co-occur in the same fruit fly host, the winner (survivor) is the species that had attacked the host first. It has a broader temperature tolerance and a longer lifespan than F. arisanus in the range of 22-30°C, which suggests that F. ceratitivorus could improve overall medfly suppression.


Argov, Y., Blanchet, A. and Gazit, Y. 2011. Biological control of the Mediterranean fruit fly in Israel: Biological parameters of imported parasitoid wasps. Biological Control 59: 209-214.

Ayelo, P.M., Sinzogan, A.A., Bokonon-Ganta, A.H. and Karlsson, M.F. 2017. Host species and vegetable fruit suitability and preference by the parasitoid wasp Fopius arisanus. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 163: 70-81.

Bautista, R.C., Mochizuki, N., Spencer, J.P., Harris, E.J. and Ichimura, D.M. 1999. Mass-rearing of the tephritid fruit fly parasitoid Fopius arisanus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Biological Control 15: 137–144.

Bokonon-Ganta, A.H., Ramadan, M.M. and Messing, R.H. 2007. Reproductive biology of Fopius ceratitivorus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), an egg-larval parasitoid of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae). Biological Control 41: 361–367.

Harris, E.J., Bautista, R.C, Vargas, R.I. and Jang, E.B. 2007. Rearing Fopius arisanus (Sonan) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae). Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society 39: 121-126.

Kroder, S. and Messing, R.H. 2010. A new parasitoid from Kenya, Fopius ceratitivorus, complements the extant parasitoid guild attacking Mediterranean fruit fly in Hawaii. Biological Control 53: 223-229.

Lopez, M. (and 7 co-authors). 2003. Colonization of Fopius ceratitivorous, a newly discovered Africa egg-pupal parasitoid (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) of Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae). Florida Entomologist 86: 53-60.

Manoukis, N., Geib, S., Seo, D., McKenney, M., Vargas, R. and Jang, E. 2011. An optimized protocol for rearing Fopius arisanus, a parasitoid of tephritid fruit flies. Journal of Visual Experiments 53: 2901.

Ramadan, M.M., Wong, T.T.Y., McInnis, D.O. 1994. Reproductive biology of Biosteres arisanus (Sonan), an egg larval parasitoid of the oriental fruit fly. Biological Control 4: 93-100.

Rousse, P., Harris E.J. and Quilici, S. 2005. Fopius arisanus, an egg–pupal parasitoid of Tephritidae. Overview. Biocontrol News and Information 26: 59N – 69N.

Rousse, P., Gourdon, F. and Quilici, S. 2006. Host specificity of the egg pupal parasitoid Fopius arisanus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) in La Reunion. Biological Control 37: 284-290.

Vargas, R.I., Leblanc, L., Putoa, R. and Eitam, A. 2007. Impact of introduction of Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) and classical biological control releases of Fopius arisanus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) on economically important fruit flies in French Polynesia. Journal of Economic Entomology 100: 670–679.

Wang, X.G. and Messing, R.H. 2003. Intra- and interspecific competition by Fopius arisanus and Diachasmimorpha tryoni (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), parasitoids of tephritid fruit flies. Biological Control 27: 251-259.