Title

Bimodal cue complex signifies suitable oviposition sites to gravid females of the common green bottle fly

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Publication Title

Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata

Volume

153

Issue

2

First Page

114

Last Page

127

DOI

10.1111/eea.12238

Abstract

Gravid females of the common green bottle fly, Lucilia sericata Meigen (Diptera: Calliphoridae), readily locate recently deceased vertebrates as oviposition sites, particularly when these animals have been injured. We investigated semiochemical and visual cues that mediate attraction of gravid females to fresh rat carrion. Female flies were more strongly attracted to incised rat carrion than to intact carrion. They were also attracted to Porapak Q headspace volatile (HSV) extract of incised rat carrion. Analyzing aliquots of Porapak Q HSV extract by gas chromatographic-electroantennographic detection revealed nine components [phenol, para- and/or meta-cresol (could not be separated), guaiacol, dimethyl trisulfide (DMTS), phenylacetaldehyde, (E)-2-octenal, nonanal, and tetramethyl pyrazine] that consistently elicited responses from blow fly antennae. In laboratory experiments, a synthetic blend of these nine components was as attractive to gravid females as Porapak Q HSV extract, but blend attractiveness was due entirely to DMTS. In both laboratory and field experiments, increasing doses of DMTS attracted increasingly more flies. Coupled with DMTS, carrion-type color cues (dark red, black) were more effective than bright color cues (white, yellow) in attracting flies. In field experiments, dark traps baited with DMTS captured a total of 214 calliphorid flies (200 L. sericata, 10 Lucilia illustris Meigen, three Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy, one Calliphora vomitoria L.), all of which were gravid females. These results support the conclusion that DMTS and dark color represent a bimodal cue complex that signifies suitable oviposition sites to gravid calliphorid females, particularly L. sericata.

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