The fruit fly originated in Africa.
The fruit fly has spread and settled in Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America, Hawaii and Western Australia.
C. capitata is an EPPO A2 quarantine pest (EPPO, 1981), and is also of quarantine significance throughout the world (CPPC, NAPPO, APPPC), especially for Japan and the USA.
Its presence in Hawaii, but not in mainland USA, has contributed to its high international profile as a quarantine pest.
It has reached all tropical and warm temperate land masses with the exception of Asia.