There are over 500 named species of fruit fly across Asia, Australia and Pacific. While the taxonomy of most species is known, there remain many problematic issues around the identification of fruit flies. The tephritids contain many groups of closely related or ‘sibling’ species, where the biological and taxonomic boundaries between species are uncertain. Other species have very large geographic distributions, and so it is unclear how much biological variation may occur within a species. All of these problems are confounded by a decline in taxonomic expertise, which makes the accurate identification of fruit flies problematic for many organisations and researchers.
The QUT Fruit Fly Group works actively in this space, carrying out higher level systematics research using molecular tools, species level research using genetic, behavioural and morphometric tools, and then diagnostics research and development to support Australian and regional biosecurity. We work as part of a large international community in this research, as the outcomes directly affect international quarantine and trade. Current, or recent projects include: