Location: Mosquito and Fly Research Unit
Title: The Effect of Behavioral Conditioning on Determining Host Choice in a Parasitoid of Filth Flies, Trichopria nigra Authors
|Ferrero, Kimberly - UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA|
Submitted to: Livestock Insect Work Conference
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 10, 2007
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Parasitoid wasps have been utilized as biocontrol agents for both medical/veterinary and agricultural pest insects for nearly two hundred years. Many parasitoids are, to some extent, species-specific in their choice of insect host. A species of endoparasitic wasp, Trichopria nigra (Hymenoptera: Diapriidae) found on stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) pupae in Russia and Kazakhstan was brought to the USDA Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) several years ago, where it has been reared successfully on flesh fly (Sarcophaga bullata) as well as black garbage fly (Ophyra aenescens) and stable fly pupae. This successful rearing in multiple cyclorrhapan hosts has led researchers to question the plasticity of parasitoid behavior; specifically, whether certain generalist parasitoids can be conditioned to seek out and parasitize specific fly pupae. Two sets of preliminary experiments were performed: (1) two variations of an arena-enclosed choice test offering pupae of S. calcitrans, S. bullata, and M. domestica to parasitoids who had previously been conditioned for ~24 and ~48 h on one of the above mentioned hosts; and (2) olfactometer-based choice tests offering two different pupal types to conditioned wasps in a Y-tube configuration. Wasps conditioned to a specific pupal type tended to fly toward and attempt to parasitize pupae similar to their conditioning pupal type. Likewise, a majority of conditioned wasps (>50%) tended to make a first-choice response in a Y-tube olfactometer toward the same pupal type as their conditioning pupae. These early results indicate a strong potential for further research which might provide for better rearing of generalist biocontrol insects on an as-needed basis, to specifically target pest flies around households and agricultural facilities.