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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: HIGHER DIPTERA PESTS OF LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY: SCREWWORM FLIES

Location: Screwworm Research

Title: An Artificial Diet for Rearing Cochliomyia macellaria (Diptera: Calliphoridae)

Authors
item Chaudhury, Muhammad
item Skoda, Steven

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 28, 2013
Publication Date: August 9, 2013
Citation: Chaudhury, M.F., Skoda, S.R. 2013. An artificial diet for rearing Cochliomyia macellaria (Diptera: Calliphoridae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 106(4):1927-1931.

Interpretive Summary: Secondary screwworm maggots feed on carrion and may sometimes cause myiasis in animals. In the laboratory these maggots are grown on various animal tissues to study their growth and development. These insects are of importance in forensic science because of their association with corpses. We use this insect in our laboratory for some preliminary experiments as a model of the primary screwworm that causes animal and human myiasis. The primary screwworm has been eradicated from the U.S. and rearing is restricted to a proper bio-secure facility. We reared the secondary screwworm maggots using three different diets: (1) an artificial diet prepared from spray-dried bovine blood, spray-dried poultry egg, dry milk substitute, and solidified with a polyacrelate polymer gel; (2) a fresh bovine blood-based diet prepared similarly except fresh blood was used in place of spray-dried blood; and (3) a beef liver diet. Results show that mature maggots and pupae reared on both the dry blood and fresh blood based diets had significantly higher weights than those from insects reared on liver diet. Numbers of pupae and percentage of adult emergence were also significantly higher in both dry blood and fresh blood-based diets than the liver diet. Female flies from the maggots reared on dry blood and fresh blood-based diets laid significantly more eggs than the females from maggots reared on the liver diet. The maggots grew normally in the blood-based diets; this indicates that an artificial diet can replace the liver diet, which normally is used for secondary screwworm rearing.

Technical Abstract: Larvae of the secondary screwworm, Cochliomyia macellaria (Fabricius), feed on carrion and may sometimes cause animal myiasis. They have been reared in the laboratory on various animal tissues to study their growth and development because of their importance in forensic science. We use the secondary screwworm in our laboratory for preliminary experiments as a model of the primary screwworm, Cochliomyia hominivorax (Coquerel), which has been eradicated from the U.S. We evaluated C. macellaria after rearing larvae on three diets: (1) an artificial diet prepared from spray-dried bovine blood, spray-dried poultry egg, dry milk substitute, and solidified with a polyacrelate polymer gel; (2) a fresh bovine blood-based diet prepared similarly except fresh blood was used in place of spray-dried blood; and (3) a beef liver diet. Data from seven life-history parameters from the insects reared were collected and analyzed. Larval and pupal weights of the insects reared on both the dry blood and fresh blood based diets were significantly higher than those obtained from insects reared on liver diet. Numbers of pupae and percentage of adult emergence were also significantly higher in both dry blood and fresh blood-based diets than the liver diet. Female flies from the larvae reared in dry blood and fresh blood-based diets deposited significantly more eggs than the females from larvae reared in the liver diet. Results show that C. macellaria larvae developed and grew normally in the blood-based diets, indicating that an artificial diet can effectively replace the liver diet commonly used for rearing C. macellaria.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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