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ARS Home » Plains Area » Kerrville, Texas » Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory » Livestock Arthropod Pest Research Unit » Research » Research Project #444135

Research Project: Investigating New World Screwworm Courtship and Mate Selection

Location: Livestock Arthropod Pest Research Unit

Project Number: 3094-32000-041-014-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 15, 2023
End Date: May 14, 2025

ARS scientist and cooperator will advise graduate students to conduct research identifying courtship behaviors associated with mate choice and mate compatibility by the New World screwworm.

Behavior assays will be conducted by the collaborator to identify how New World screwworm detects mates and what parameters are used for courtship or mate selection. Assays will be developed to explore if male or female screwworm use sight, sound, dances or wing flaps, close range chemical signaling, or other features to identify and select mates. Tests will disable fly's senses, such as blinding, wing removal, tarsae removal and evaluate the reduction in mating capability. Minute behaviors will be observed with high speed cameras and behavior monitoring software. Tests will be conducted under laboratory conditions in small cages and then applied to larger outdoor tests as appropriate. All tests will be completed with at least 100 individual flies of the J-06 strain used by the mass-rearing plant and included both sexes. Parameters compared will be percent of successful mating, time from beginning encounter to mating, and events of multiple matings by a female.