Volume 43, Issue 5 p. 612-620
Original Article

Impacts of dietary amino acid composition and microbial presence on preference and performance of immature Lucilia sericata (Diptera: Calliphoridae)

Jennifer Rhinesmith-Carranza

Corresponding Author

Jennifer Rhinesmith-Carranza

Department of Entomology , Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, U.S.A.

Correspondence: Jennifer L. Rhinesmith-Carranza, Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, U.S.A. E-mail: [email protected]; Aaron M. Tarone, Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, U.S.A. E-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Wenqi Liu

Wenqi Liu

Department of Entomology , Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, U.S.A.

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Jeffery K. Tomberlin

Jeffery K. Tomberlin

Department of Entomology , Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, U.S.A.

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Michael Longnecker

Michael Longnecker

Department of Statistics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, U.S.A.

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Aaron M. Tarone

Corresponding Author

Aaron M. Tarone

Department of Entomology , Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, U.S.A.

Correspondence: Jennifer L. Rhinesmith-Carranza, Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, U.S.A. E-mail: [email protected]; Aaron M. Tarone, Department of Entomology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, U.S.A. E-mail: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
First published: 13 July 2018
Citations: 9
Associate Editor: Mark Fellowes

Abstract

1. As primary colonisers of ephemeral resources, the common green bottle fly, Lucilia sericata, must exercise efficient resource exploitation strategies to maximise fitness. Foraging incurs costs, so the efficient evaluation of resources is essential for individuals relying on fragmented patches whose dissimilarity may result in fitness consequences for offspring. Thus, selective pressures between carrion-using insects and carrion-associated microbes are expected to occur.

2. Microbes play a pivotal role in adult fly assessment of resources via production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) resulting from the breakdown of essential amino acids. If one assumes that chemoreception of these VOCs provides public information regarding the corresponding essential amino acids, the resulting effects on maternal decision-making could impact larval resource exploitation.

3. The essential amino acids phenylalanine, methionine, valine, and tryptophan, the corresponding VOCs of which are known fly attractants, were used to construct imbalanced diets with and without antimicrobial treatment to investigate the impact of suboptimal food sources on larval L. sericata.

4. The results of this study demonstrate that both amino acid composition and microbial presence influence behaviour, with larvae displaying a preference for untreated diets lacking methionine and a complete reversal in preference for antimicrobial-treated diets. This interaction between diet and antimicrobial treatment indicates that the presence of microbes that produce essential amino acids may impact larval resource utilisation strategies. This investigation into larval performance on diets deficient in amino acids that provide important VOC cues to maternal flies provides a stepping stone for dissecting larval behavioural strategies on ephemeral resources when faced with limited choices.