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A Compound Produced by Fruigivorous Tephritidae (Diptera) Larvae Promotes Oviposition Behavior by the Biological Control Agent Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)

Charles Stuhl, John Sivinski, Peter Teal, Beatriz Paranhos, Martin Aluja
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/EN10198 727-736 First published online: 1 June 2011


Tephritid fruit fly parasitoids use fruit-derived chemical cues and the vibrations that result from larval movements to locate hosts sequestered inside fruit. However, compounds produced by the larvae themselves have not been previously described nor their significance to parasitoid foraging determined. We collected the volatiles from four species of tropical and subtropical Tephritidae: Anastrepha suspensa (Loew), Bactrocera dorsalis Hendel, Bactrocera cucurbitae Coquillett, and Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), representing two subfamilies (Dacinae and Trypetinae). Para-ethylacetophenone, an analog of a known tephritid parasitoid attractant, was a major constituent of all four, and was not associated with larvae of another acalypterate fly, Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, or with the calypterate Musca domestica L. It also was present in volatiles from whole, A. suspensa infested fruits of Eugenia uniflora (L.). Para-ethylacetophenone was not necessarily produced as a direct consequence of fruit consumption because it also was detected from larvae that developed in two artificial diets and in spent diets subsequent to larval development. Sensillae on both the antennae and ovipositor of the opiine braconid fruit fly parasitoid, Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Ashmead) responded to the para-ethylacetophenone in larval volatiles and as a synthetic. Although a potential cue to foraging parasitoids, para-ethylacetophenone showed no long range (>1m) attractiveness to the adult female parasitoid, but did stimulate ovipositor-insertion and oviposition into both a natural (fruit) and an artificial (parafilm) substrate. Thus it may prove useful in colonizing and mass-rearing opine fruit fly parasitoids.

  • Diachasmimorpha longicaudata
  • Bactrocera
  • Anastrepha
  • Ceratitis
  • para-ethylacetophenone
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