Chaetorellia australis
Order: Diptera
Family: Tephridae

Common Name: yellow starthistle peacock fly

Biological Weed Control Links      Adults      Larva     Eggs      Damage to Plant  

Photo by Charles Turner, USDA ARS,

Yellow starthistle (
Centaurea solstitialis)

Origin: The peacock fly was originally found in France, Greece, northern Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, and Moldavia.  (1) 

Life Cycle
Generation: The first generation is in Centaurea cyanus and the next two generations are on yellow starthistle.  The last is overwintering generation.  There are three generations per year.  (1)
Egg Stage: The female lays the eggs in the developing flowerheads of the Centaurea cyanus.  (1)
Larval Stage: The larva burrows through the seedhead.  (1)
Pupil Stage:  Occurs in flower head.  (1)
Adult Stage: Adult comes out of flower head.  (1)
Overwintering: As mature larva in seedhead.  (1)

Destructive Stage:
Larval stage  (1)
Damage to Host: The larvae feed in the flower head.  A single larva can destroy over 85% of the seeds in one flower head..  (1-2)

Releases:  The United States obtained the peacock fly from Greece.  It has been released in Washington and Oregon.  It's been released in California as well but has not been able to be established possibly because centaurea cyanus is not a common plant there. (1)

Collection: Adults can be collected with a net.  To collect larvae, seedheads can be collected and the adult flies will emerge from the heads.  (1)

Comments: The false peacock fly (Chaetorelia succinea) seems to be the most destructive.  It was accidentally release with the peacock fly in Oregon.  (3)


Literature Cited:
(1) Chaetorellia australis Hering - "Yellow Starthistle Peacock Fly". Jan 2005. Environmental Laboratory. 28 Jan 2005 <>.

John M. Harper and Erin Ruddick. "Yellow Starthistle Biology and Control". Copyright 1999 UC Regents. 04/02/99. <>.
(3) ---. "Yellow starthistle." Biological Control of Invasive Plants in the United States. Ed. Eric M. coombs, Janet K. Clarck, Gary L. Piper, and Alfred F. Confrancesco, Jr. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2004. 421-423.

By: Katie Lemrick,  2/2005.

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