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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: USDA ARS Research on the Screwworm Fly

Authors
item Chaudhury, Muhammad
item Phillips, Pamela
item Sagel, Agustin -
item Skoda, Steven

Submitted to: United States Animal Health Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: September 12, 2012
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Screwworm myiasis, a condition where maggots invade living tissue, is devastating to warm blooded animals. This results in large economic losses to livestock industries and negative impact to human health. Eradication of the screwworm from mainland North America using the sterile insect technique was an unprecedented achievement; reinvasion is prevented by maintenance of a barrier at the Panama – Colombia border. Here we updated research progress by the Screwworm Research Unit (SRU) at the 116th Annual Meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association. Molecular genetic techniques are providing an understanding of the genetic diversity of screwworms sampled from across their current range in South America and the Caribbean. Transgenic techniques are being used to develop a male-only, genetic sexing strain of screwworms. Using potassium permanganate in the larval diet of screwworms reduces ammonia production and may be a viable replacement for formaldehyde as an antimicrobial in the media. SRU recommended updates to navigation and dispersal equipment, which have been installed on the aircraft that disperse sterile screwworms in the barrier zone and as a result more efficient placement of flies is expected. Volatiles from wounds of animals that are attractive to female screwworms have been identified; these may improve field surveillance. Research has been initiated to develop a chemically defined diet for screwworm larvae; this will allow for economical substitutes to be identified for use in mass rearing screwworms. The SRU has consistently reached research milestones established in the interest of providing updated or novel answers to critical questions posed by the Panama – U.S. Commission for Eradication of Screwworms.

Technical Abstract: Screwworm myiasis is devastating to warm blooded animals. Eradication of the screwworm from mainland North America using the sterile insect technique is an unprecedented achievement; reinvasion is prevented by maintenance of a barrier at the Panama – Colombia border. Here we update research progress by the Screwworm Research Unit (SRU) at the 116th Annual Meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association. Molecular genetic techniques are providing an understanding of the genetic diversity of screwworms sampled from across their current range. Transgenic techniques are being used to develop a male-only, genetic sexing strain of screwworms. Potassium permanganate has been shown useful in reducing ammonia production from larval developmental media and to be a viable replacement for formaldehyde as an antimicrobial in the larval diet. SRU recommended updates to navigation and dispersal equipment, which have been installed on the aircraft that disperse sterile screwworms in the barrier zone and as a result more efficient placement of flies is expected. Volatiles that attract female screwworms have been identified from wounds of animals. Research has been initiated to develop a chemically defined diet for screwworm larvae; this will allow for economical substitutes to be identified for use in mass rearing screwworms. The SRU has consistently reached research milestones established in the interest of providing updated or novel answers to critical questions posed by the Panama – U.S. Commission for Eradication of Screwworms.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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