In eukaryotes, microRNAs (miRNAs) are small, conserved, noncoding RNAs that have emerged as critical regulators of gene expression. The oriental fruit fly Bactrocera dorsalis is one of the most economically important fruit fly pests in East Asia and the Pacific. Although transcriptome analyses have greatly enriched our knowledge of its structural genes, little is known about post-transcriptional regulation by miRNAs in this dipteran species. In this study, small RNA libraries corresponding to four B. dorsalis developmental stages (eggs, larvae, pupae and adults) were constructed and sequenced. Approximately 30.7 million reads of 18–30 nucleotides were obtained, with 123 known miRNAs and 60 novel miRNAs identified amongst these libraries. More than half of the miRNAs were stage-specific during the four developmental stages. A set of miRNAs was found to be up- or down-regulated during development by comparison of their reads at different developmental stages. Moreover, a small part of miRNAs owned both miR-#-3p and miR-#-5p types, with enormously variable miR-#-3p/miR-#-5p ratios in the same library and amongst different developmental stages for each miRNA. Taking these findings together, the current study has uncovered a number of miRNAs and provided insights into their possible involvement in developmental regulation by expression profiling of miRNAs. Further analyses of the expression and function of these miRNAs could increase our understanding of regulatory networks in this insect and lead to novel approaches for its control.