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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MICROBIAL INTERACTIONS AND MANAGEMENT APPROACHES TO REDUCE PATHOGENIC BACTERIA IN POULTRY

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Title: Bacteria mediate oviposition by the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.), (Diptera: Stratiomyidae)

Authors
item Zheng, Longyu -
item Crippen, Tawni
item Holmes, Leslie -
item Singh, Baneshwar -
item Pimsler, Meaghan -
item Benbow, M -
item Tarone, Aaron -
item Dowd, Scot -
item Yu, Ziniu -
item Vanlaerhoven, Sherah -
item Wood, Thomas -
item Tomberlin, Jeffery -

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 9, 2013
Publication Date: September 2, 2013
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/58267
Citation: Zheng, L., Crippen, T.L., Holmes, L., Singh, B., Pimsler, M.L., Benbow, M.E., Tarone, A.M., Dowd, S., Yu, Z., Vanlaerhoven, S., Wood, T.K., Tomberlin, J.K. 2013. Bacteria mediate oviposition by the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.), (Diptera: Stratiomyidae). Scientific Reports. 3(2563):2570.

Interpretive Summary: We hypothesized that bacteria present at sites where flies will deposit eggs serve as an attraction signal. The black soldier fly is an insect species that commonly frequents animal production facility’s waste and animal carrion. Their choice of egg-laying sites is affected by the presence of eggs and larvae from other black soldier flies and other competing species of flies. The influence of bacteria found on the larval stage of these flies was tested on the attraction of adult black soldier flies ready to lay eggs. We determined that eggs with no surface bacteria (sterilized) were 50% less attractive to adult flies than unsterilized eggs. We also determined that a rinse of the eggs to collect egg-associated bacteria was as attractive to black soldier flies as the actual eggs themselves. The attraction response of the black soldier fly to individual bacteria grown from their eggs, as well as from eggs of their competitors, was tested. The bacteria species, concentration, and origin influenced the attraction response of the black soldier fly.

Technical Abstract: There can be substantial negative consequences for insects colonizing a resource in the presence of competitors. We hypothesized that microbes associated with an oviposition resource and resulting eggs deposited by insects serve as a mechanism regulating subsequent insect attraction, colonization, and potentially succession. The black soldier fly is an example of an insect species commonly occurring on carrion. We determined the influence of bacteria associated with a larval resource on the oviposition preference of adult flies. We examined the role the presence of conspecific eggs has on the attraction and oviposition of adult black soldier flies. Furthermore, we determined if the microbes associated with conspecific and competitor eggs served as a mechanism regulating attraction and oviposition of adult black soldier flies. Removing microbes from the resource reduced oviposition by the black soldier fly by one-third in the absence of conspecific eggs and 16% when present. We determined that surface sterilized eggs on media were 50% less attractive (attraction defined as eggs deposited) than those not sterilized. We also determined that a rinse of the eggs that included the egg-associated bacteria was equally attractive to gravid black soldier flies as the actual eggs themselves. In order to exclude issues with potential pheromones being present, we examined the response of the black soldier fly to individual, or communities of, bacteria cultured from their eggs as well as their competitors. We determined that bacteria species, concentration, and origin influenced the oviposition response of the black soldier fly; and, utilizing a community, rather than individual, bacteria species resulted in different behavior responses.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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