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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383816

Research Project: Systematics of Plant-Feeding Flies of Importance in Agroecosystems and the Environment

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: Synergistic attraction of kleptoparasitic flies, Desmometopa spp. (Diptera, Milichiidae) to two vespid venom volatiles, trans-conophthorin, and N-(3-methylbutyl)acetamide

item ZHANG, QING-HE - Sterling International, Inc
item HOOVER, DOREEN - Sterling International, Inc
item MCMILLIAN, DARBY - Sterling International, Inc
item ZHOU, GUIJI - Sterling International, Inc
item MARGARYAN, ARMENAK - Sterling International, Inc
item WELSHONS, DEWAYNE - Sterling International, Inc
item Norrbom, Allen
item ALDRICH, JEFFREY - University Of California

Submitted to: Chemoecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2021
Publication Date: 9/30/2021
Citation: Zhang, Q., Hoover, D.R., Mcmillian, D.R., Zhou, G., Margaryan, A., Welshons, D.O., Norrbom, A.L., Aldrich, J.R. 2021. Synergistic attraction of kleptoparasitic flies, Desmometopa spp. (Diptera, Milichiidae) to two vespid venom volatiles, trans-conophthorin, and N-(3-methylbutyl) acetamide. Chemoecology. 32:89-94.

Interpretive Summary: Milichiid flies are one of the many families of flies that are important in the breakdown and recycling of nutrients in agricultural ecosystems. Vespid wasps are important predators of insects but can also be nuisance pests. This paper reports the surprising finding that milichiid flies are strongly attracted to traps using wasp volatile chemicals to attract wasps. This information is important to the developers of wasp traps and may affect their design. It will also be useful to scientists studying insect chemical communication and attraction.

Technical Abstract: Spiroacetals (including the commercially available E-7-methyl-1,6-dioxaspiro[4,5]decane, also known as trans-cononphthorin; tC) and the acetamides [especially N-(3-methylbutyl)acetamide; N3MBA] are two major groups of venom volatiles for most members of Vespidae. In the course of testing potential vespid attraction to these two major venom compounds, we caught “by accident” tremendous numbers of female milichiid flies (Diptera, Milichiidae), Desmometopa nearctica Sabrosky and D. sordida (Fallén) on the Rescue® Wasp TrapStiks baited with the synthetic tC and N3MBA, even though no significant attractions to vespid wasps were shown at the dosages tested. The combination of tC and N3MBA attracted significantly more milichiids in a synergistic fashion than did the individual compounds in a synergistic fashion. Our results suggest that females of these two milichiid kleptoparasitic milichiid flies use volatile defensive and pheromonal compounds from the venom glands of social vespids (yellowjackets, paper wasps and hornets) as kairomones to find disturbed, injured or freshly killed insects on which to feed. The sex-specific attraction might indicate that females of these flies need a protein-rich meal for maximum fecundity.