Maternal influence on the incidence and duration of larval diapause in Calliphora vicina


Department of Zoology, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT


ABSTRACT. The photoperiodic mechanism governing larval diapause in the blowfly Calliphora vicina R.-D. (Diptera: Calliphoridac) is largely maternal. The critical daylength for adult flies at 20d̀C, and larvae derived from day 12 eggs and maintained in darkness at 11d̀C, is about 14.5 h/24. At short daylength (LD 12:12 h) and a range of temperatures, eggs laid on or before day 9 gave rise to a low incidence of diapause, whereas those laid on day 10 and later gave rise to a high incidence; the photoperiodic ‘counter’ therefore shows a temperature-compensated mechanism for ‘accumulating’ successive short days. The rate of switching from non-diapause to diapause progeny is hardly affected by the timing of protein meals, although an early supply of meat accelerates egg development and leads to an increasing proportion of early, non-diapausing progeny. There is no evidence for a maternal effect preventing diapause induction in the first post-diapause (‘spring’) generation of flies. Diapausing larvae terminate diapause spontaneously in darkness at 11d̀C after a variable period which is positively correlated with the incidence of diapause in the group. Diapause incidence and duration therefore are both determined maternally.