Fruit Fly, the common name of various kinds of small flies that feed on fruit and decaying vegetable matter. Some species—such as the Mexican and Mediterranean fruit flies—are of economic importance because their eggs, laid in growing fruit, hatch into larvae (maggots) that damage apples, cherries, melons, berries, and citrus fruits.

Fruit fliesFruit flies are small insects that feed on fruit and vegetable matter.

The common fruit fly, also called vinegar fly and pomace fly, is a tiny, red-eyed fly with a yellowish body marked with black. It is often seen hovering over uncovered fruit or garbage cans during hot weather. This fruit fly is used extensively in the study of genetics because it is easy to breed, matures rapidly, and, in the larval state, has chromosomes large enough to be seen with an ordinary microscope.

The Mexican fruit fly is Anastrepha ludens; the Mediterranean, Ceratitis capitata. Both belong to the order Diptera, family Tephritidae. The common fruit fly is Drosophila melanogaster of the order Diptera, family Drosophilidae.