The olive fruit fly Bactrocera oleae (B. oleae) is a major olive damaging pest in the Mediterranean area. As a first molecular analysis of a developmental gene in this insect, we characterised the ovo/shavenbaby (ovo/svb) gene. In Drosophila, ovo/svb encodes a family of transcription regulators with two distinct functions: ovo is required for female germline differentiation and svb controls morphogenesis of epidermal cells. Here, we report the cloning and characterisation of ovo/svb in B. oleae, showing that the ovo genomic organisation and complex pattern of germline transcription have been conserved between distantly related Dipterae. We further show that B. oleae svb embryonic expression precisely prefigures the pattern of larval trichomes, supporting the conclusion that regulatory changes in svb transcription underlie evolutionary diversification of trichome patterns seen among Dipterae.