Malnutrition Delays Onset Of Sexual Behavior And Slows Secondary Sexual Organ Growth In Pest Fly

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Malnutrition Delays Onset Of Sexual Behavior And Slows Secondary Sexual Organ Growth In Pest Fly
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19th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium
Thomas, Samantha
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Center for Undergraduate Research
Conference papers and proceedings


An important question is, how do animals know when it is time to start reproducing? Insects need a nutritious diet to fuel reproduction, and a protein-rich diet can accelerate the timing of sexual maturity. Understanding the factors that may speed up sexual maturation could improve the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). SIT involves releasing sterile male flies into a field to compete with wild males, preventing wild female reproduction. Tephritid fruit flies are major economic pests that are controlled by SIT. In SIT, sterile males must be able to display proper sexual calling behavior. For tephritids, this includes pheromone releasing displays such as bulging of pleural and anal glands and wing fanning. The frequency of these displays increases when protein is added to an adult tephritid's diet. Few studies have examined the morphological changes that accompany maturity. In male Caribbean fruit flies, Anastrepha suspensa, the salivary gland is used by males to produce pheromones and attract females. I hypothesize that dietary protein accelerates the growth of the salivary gland allowing earlier calling behavior. I found that diet and age are significant predictors of salivary gland size, and salivary gland volume is a significant predictor of calling behavior, confirming my hypothesis. ( en )
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Research authors: Samantha Thomas, Clancy Short - University of Florida
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University Scholars Program
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Faculty Mentor: Daniel Hahn - Entomology, University of Florida

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University of Florida
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Copyright Samantha Thomas. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.

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Malnutrition Delays Onset of Sexual Behavior and Slows Secondary Sexual Organ Growth in Pest Fly Samantha Thomas, Clancy Short, and Daniel Hahn Department of Entomology and Nematology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA Background Animals need proper nutrients to mature properly. Without them, it takes longer for animals to sexually mature. Tephritids are a major family of fruit fly pest that causes millions of dollars worth of agricultural damage every year. SIT controls many insects, including the tephritid Anastrepha suspensa, and decreases pest populations without the harmful chemicals. Studying secondary sexual organs could help scientists in determining how to generate more competitive males, thus improving SIT. Methods Fig 2. Day 7 protein deficient fly with salivary ball glands in body cavity (left) and outside body cavity (right). Fig 3. As males get older, the salivary ball glands of protein fed males become larger than those of protein deficient males. The picture on the left is from a day 4 protein deficient male, and the picture on the right is from a day 4 protein fed male. Both diet (p<0.01) and age (p<10E 9) significantly predicted salivary ball gland size. Conclusion Future loss of function and gain of function studies may confirm that the salivary ball gland regulates calling behavior. Larger salivary ball glands in male tephritids could lead to increased competitiveness in males and an improvement in the Sterile Insect Technique. We can make SIT more effective by exploring whether more developed secondary sexual organs accelerate sexual maturity and improve performance. With these improvements to SIT, we can help in the fight against these agricultural pests. Fig 4. As males get older, proportion of calling tends to increase. Males on a protein diet called faster than males without protein in their diets. !"!# !"!$ !"!% !"!& !"!' !"!( !"!) !"!* # $ % & ( ) + ,-./01.23045-0/62704428409:2;/62<0== ,1. !"#$%&'$()#*$+)"&),)-%&*./$01#')-*$+%.)2%1/$3%..$ 4.%&'$+)5# >/?@.592A9B09C.: >/?@.592;.D5C5.9@ 30EF4.2E04.2D45.=22 ?92:062?D2.E./1.9C.2 G:062!H2@B/?I1B2:062 +2?D20:I4@B??: >I@2?92:5.@=2J5@B2 09:2J5@B?I@2F/?@.59 >./D?/E2C?I/@=B5F2 0==06=2?92E04.=2% K +2 :06=2?4: ;5==.C@2?I@2=045-0/62 L04421409:209:2:/62@?2 E.0=I/.2:/62E0== Fig 1. The salivary ball glands of A. suspensa are secondary sexual organs that produce pheromones to attract females. Bulging of the pleural and anal glands release the pheromones and wing fanning spreads them out. This is how tephritids exhibit calling behavior. Reference : Lima, I., House, P., Nascimento R. 2001. J 1 9 B 6 raz. Chem. Soc., Vol. 12, No. 2, 196 201. 0.37 mm Key Question: To what extent does diet affect the size of the salivary ball gland and size of salivary ball gland affect sexual maturation (calling behavior)? M64.27I== !"# !"$ !"% !"& !"' !"( !") !"* !"+ # # $ % & ( ) + >/?F?/@5?92N044591 ,1. !"#$%&'$()#*$6711#.%*#$8)*9$6%..)&"$ 3#9%2)71 >/?@.592A9B09C.: >/?@.592;.D5C5.9@ O#2EE