Submitted to: Hawaiian Entomological Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/13/2016
Publication Date: 12/15/2016
Citation: Manoukis, N., Mangine, T.E. 2016. Response of the pearly eye melon fly Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett) (Diptera:Tephritidae) mutant to host-associated visual cues. Hawaiian Entomological Society Proceedings. 48:15-20.
Interpretive Summary: A melon fly with pearly white eyes was rediscovered in Hawaii Island, a decade after the same variant had been described from Oahu Island. In this paper, we argue that the trait observed is the same as the one described a decade ago. We also conducted tests, to verify that this white eyed fly has the same visual capacity as the normal-eyed fly. Results suggest that the pearly-eyed fly can't see colors or shapes. It may be able to perceive light. This finding suggests that the pearly eyed fly would be of limited use in marking flies for experiments or release-based control programs.
Technical Abstract: We report on a pearly eye mutant (PEM) line generated from a single male Bactrocera cucurbitae collected in Kapoho, Hawaii. Crossing experiments with colony wild-type flies indicate that the locus controlling this trait is autosomal and the mutant allele is recessive. Experiments with females to assess response to visual oviposition cues (shape and color) suggest that PEM flies are at least unresponsive to color, and likely also unable to perceive visual shape cues. This phenotype has been described from field collection before, but its visual abilities have not previously been tested. The rediscovery of the PEM phenotype and results of the vision test support the hypothesis that the PEM trait has significant negative fitness consequences in the field, and that the recessive allele resulting in this phenotype is probably at low frequency in nature.