Submitted to: Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 24, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Insects of closely-related species are often difficult to identify even by experts. This can cause problems with some biological control agents such as the black dump fly whose larvae feed upon housefly larvae. When large numbers of dump flies are released in the field, it is important to know how they disperse and where they have gone. Doing so requires accurate identification using methods other than a microscope. One such method is to use chemical analysis of the waxes present on the bodies of the flies for identification. ARS scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida have studied the differences in these waxes in black dump flies from all over the world. The identification methods developed using this approach now allows scientists to accurately identify black dump flies. This new knowledge will be used to develop improved biologically-based control methods for house flies.
Technical Abstract: Hydrotaea aenescens (Wiedemann), the black dump fly, is a potential biological control agent originally from the western hemisphere, now found in many parts of the Palearctic region. A complication of classical biological control is the problem of strain identification, as one must be able to somehow mark or follow a particular strain that has been introduced into the field or is contemplated for release. Gas chromatographic analysis of the surface hydrocarbons of pooled and individual dump fly adults resulted in reproducible hydrocarbon patterns that differentiated widely distributed strains of H. aenescens and showed similarities between strains that were related. Sexual dimorphism was observed in the surface or cuticular hydrocarbons. Conspecific similarities included identities of the hydrocarbons found in colony material collected world-wide, with differences being found in the quantities of compounds present.