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Effects of Water Immersion and Soil Moisture Content on Larval and Pupal Survival of Bactrocera minax (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Forewarning and Management of Agricultural and Forestry Pests, Hubei Engineering Technology Center, College of Agriculture, Yangtze University, Jingzhou 434025, China
Department of Land-use Planning and Management, Ministry of Agriculture, Dodoma 2182, Tanzania
State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Key Laboratory of Integrated Pest Management of Crop, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100193, China
Ministry of Agriculture Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute, Mbeya 400, Tanzania
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Zaiyuan Li and Consolatha Chambi contributed equally to this work.
Insects 2019, 10(5), 138;
Received: 25 April 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 10 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
PDF [1048 KB, uploaded 14 May 2019]


Bactrocera minax, one of the most devastating citrus pests in Asia, has two developmental stages (mature larva and pupa) that complete their life cycle in the soil. Currently, southern China has a climate with abundant autumn rains, and soil moisture can be a major factor affecting the survival of larvae and pupae of B. minax. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of water immersion and high soil moisture content on the development of mature larvae and pupae of B. minax. When immersed in water for 1 d, 100% of mature larvae of B. minax were knocked out. When larvae were immersed for less than 6 d, however, more than 92% of knocked-out larvae recovered within 24 h. The days of water immersion with 50% and 90% recovery ratios (indicated as RD50 and RD90) were 10.3 d and 6.4 d, respectively. When larvae were immersed less than 6 d, the mortality ratios of larvae were not significantly different from those that were not immersed at all. The days of immersion causing 50% and 90% mortality of larvae (MD50 and MD90, respectively) were 7.6 d and 11.1 d, respectively. The pupation ratios of larvae were also observed to be not significantly different compared to non-immersion, and the days of immersion causing 50% and 90% pupation (PD50 and PD90, respectively) were 6.6 d and 0.8 d, respectively. Larval respiration rates were reduced after water immersion as a strategy for larval survival. High water content was not detrimental to pupae of B. minax. Adult emergence did not significantly decrease in soil with high water content, even though pupae were under those conditions for 161–175 d. The respiration rates of pupae were lower in soil with different moisture levels and were not significantly different, which ensured the survival of pupae in high water content. Reduced respiration rate is a strategy for survival of larvae and pupae, and remarkable tolerance to high moisture conditions could explain the high rate of spread and geographical distribution of B. minax. The results of this study provide a reference for the occurrence and control of B. minax. View Full-Text
Keywords: Bactrocera minax; soil water content; respiration rate; water immersion Bactrocera minax; soil water content; respiration rate; water immersion

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Li, Z.; Chambi, C.; Du, T.; Huang, C.; Wang, F.; Zhang, G.; Li, C.; Juma Kayeke, M. Effects of Water Immersion and Soil Moisture Content on Larval and Pupal Survival of Bactrocera minax (Diptera: Tephritidae). Insects 2019, 10, 138.

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