The olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae (Rossi), is a newly invasive, significant threat to California's olive industry. As part of a classical biological control programme, Psyttalia ponerophaga (Silvestri) was imported to California from Pakistan and evaluated in quarantine. Biological parameters that would improve rearing and field-release protocols and permit comparisons to other olive fruit fly biological control agents were measured. Potential barriers to the successful establishment of P. ponerophaga, including the geographic origins of parasitoid and pest populations and constraints imposed by fruit size, were also evaluated as part of this investigation. Under insectary conditions, all larval stages except neonates were acceptable hosts. Provided a choice of host ages, the parasitoids' host-searching and oviposition preferences were a positive function of host age, with most offspring reared from hosts attacked as third instars. Immature developmental time was a negative function of tested temperatures, ranging from 25.5 to 12.4 days at 22 and 30°C, respectively. Evaluation of adult longevity, at constant temperatures ranging from 15 to 34°C, showed that P. ponerophaga had a broad tolerance of temperature, living from 3 to 34 days at 34 and 15°C, respectively. Lifetime fecundity was 18.7±2.8 adult offspring per female, with most eggs deposited within 12 days after adult eclosion. Olive size affected parasitoid performance, with lower parasitism levels on hosts feeding in larger olives. The implications of these findings are discussed with respect to field manipulation and selection of parasitoid species for olive fruit fly biological control in California and worldwide.