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Behavioral Responses of the Invasive Fly Philornis downsi to Stimuli from Bacteria and Yeast in the Laboratory and the Field in the Galapagos Islands

1
Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, POB 12 Rehovot 761000, Israel
2
Charles Darwin Research Station, Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, Galapagos 200350, Ecuador
3
Laboratory of Applied Zoology and Parasitology, School of Agriculture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
4
Agricultural Research Organization, Gilat Center, M.P. Negev 85280, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2019, 10(12), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10120431
Received: 17 October 2019 / Revised: 24 November 2019 / Accepted: 26 November 2019 / Published: 28 November 2019
Philornis downsi Dodge and Aitken (Diptera: Muscidae) is an avian parasitic fly that has invaded the Galapagos archipelago and exerts an onerous burden on populations of endemic land birds. As part of an ongoing effort to develop tools for the integrated management of this fly, our objective was to determine its long- and short-range responses to bacterial and fungal cues associated with adult P. downsi. We hypothesized that the bacterial and fungal communities would elicit attraction at distance through volatiles, and appetitive responses upon contact. Accordingly, we amplified bacteria from guts of adult field-caught flies and from bird feces, and yeasts from fermenting papaya juice (a known attractant of P. downsi), on selective growth media, and assayed the response of flies to these microbes or their exudates. In the field, we baited traps with bacteria or yeast and monitored adult fly attraction. In the laboratory, we used the proboscis extension response (PER) to determine the sensitivity of males and females to tarsal contact with bacteria or yeast. Long range trapping efforts yielded two female flies over 112 trap-nights (attracted by bacteria from bird feces and from the gut of adult flies). In the laboratory, tarsal contact with stimuli from gut bacteria elicited significantly more responses than did yeast stimuli. We discuss the significance of these findings in context with other studies in the field and identify targets for future work.
Keywords: Philornis; invasive species; bacterial attraction; proboscis extension response Philornis; invasive species; bacterial attraction; proboscis extension response
MDPI and ACS Style

Yuval, B.; Lahuatte, P.; Jose, P.A.; Causton, C.E.; Jurkevitch, E.; Kouloussis, N.; Ben-Yosef, M. Behavioral Responses of the Invasive Fly Philornis downsi to Stimuli from Bacteria and Yeast in the Laboratory and the Field in the Galapagos Islands. Insects 2019, 10, 431.

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