Submitted to: Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2008
Publication Date: 8/1/2009
Citation: Li, X., Niu, C., Huang, Q., Lei, C., Stanley, D.W. 2009. Life Cycle of Chetoneura shennonggongensis (Diptera: Keroplatidae, Keroplatinae) From Jiangxi Province, China. Insect Science. 16:351-359.
Interpretive Summary: Long-term agricultural sustainability is severely threatened by widespread use of classical insecticides. Threats include increasing resistance to insecticides and sharply decreasing environmental quality. The concept of biological control of insects is a potentially powerful alternative to classical insecticides. Biological control is based on the idea that direct application of certain insect-specific predators, pathogens and parasites can reduce pest insect populations to a point that the pests exert only negligible economic damage. A major problem, however, is that some specialized agricultural conditions, such as those required for growing fungi used as human food (mushrooms, including shaggy mane, morels and oyster) are not suitable habitats for many biological control agents. One research approach to solve these specialized problems is locating and identifying potential predators adapted to caves and other microhabitats. We investigated the biology and life cycle of the predatory fly, Chetoneura shennonggongensis. We conducted field and laboratory studies. This species is a member of the family Keroplatidae, all members of which prey on small invertebrates. Keroplatids prefer damp, low-light habitats, including caves and riparian regions. We found the larvae of this insect are long-lived predators that may effectively impact populations of small-sized insect pests. Locating, identifying and gaining new knowledge on insect predators that have potential as biological control agents will impact scientists engaged in research into potential biological control agents. Deploying newly discovered agents will directly benefit producers of some specialized foods and the people who utilize these foods.
Technical Abstract: The biology and life cycle of the predatory fly, Chetoneura shennonggongensis, is documented from field and laboratory studies in China. This species is a member of the family Keroplatidae, all members of which prey on small invertebrates. Keroplatids prefer damp, low-light habitats, including caves and riparian regions. The larvae are the only feeding stage in the life history, accumulating enough energy reserves to support pupal development, the short adult life and production of the next generation of eggs. The larval stage usually lasts 8 to 10 months, during which prey are captured by networks of silk-like threads. Immediately prior to pupation, the larvae suspend themselves via new silk-like threads. Adult emergence reaches a peak during July. Males emerge first and mating takes place immediately when females emerge. Eggs are deposited soon after mating. The adult life span is short, about 5 days for females and 7 days for males. Males mate with multiple partners while females mate only once. Egg development takes 20 – 30 days. The significance of this work is an evaluation of predatory insects as potential biological control agents.