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Nutritional status and the foraging behaviour of Bactrocera tryoni with particular reference to protein bait spray

Authors

  • SOLOMON BALAGAWI,

    1. School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
    2. CRC National Plant Biosecurity, Canberra, Australia
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  • KEVIN JACKSON,

    1. CRC National Plant Biosecurity, Canberra, Australia
    2. Horticulture and Forestry Science, DEEDI, Brisbane, Australia
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  • IHSAN UL HAQ,

    1. Joint FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories, Seibersdorf, Austria
    2. National Agricultural Research Centre, Islamabad, Pakistan
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  • REBECCA HOOD-NOWOTNY,

    1. Department of Chemical Ecology and Ecosystem Research, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
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  • CHRISTIAN RESCH,

    1. Joint FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories, Seibersdorf, Austria
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  • ANTHONY R. CLARKE

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
    2. CRC National Plant Biosecurity, Canberra, Australia
    • Correspondence: Associate Professor Anthony R. Clarke, School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, Queensland 4001, Australia. Tel.: +61 7 31385023; e-mail: a.clarke@qut.edu.au

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Abstract

Poisoned protein baits comprise a recognized method for controlling tephritid fruit flies in the form of a ‘lure-and-kill’ technique. However, little is known about how a fly's internal protein and carbohydrate levels (i.e. nutritional status) might influence the efficacy of this control. In the present study, the relationships between the internal levels of protein (as measured by total body nitrogen) and carbohydrate (as measured by total body carbon) of the fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae) are investigated, as well as its foraging behaviours in response to protein, fruit and cue-lure (a male-specific attractant) baits. Small cage behavioural experiments are conducted using flies from cultures of different nutritional status and wild flies sampled from the field during the fruiting cycle of a guava crop. For female flies, increasing total body nitrogen is correlated with decreased protein foraging and increased oviposition activity; increasing total body carbon levels generate the same behavioural changes except that the oviposition response is not significant. For males, there are no significant correlations between changes in total body nitrogen and total body carbon and protein or cue-lure foraging. For wild flies from the guava orchard, almost all of them are sexually mature when entering the crop and, over the entire season, total body nitrogen and total body carbon levels are such that protein hunger is unlikely for most flies. The results infer strongly that the requirements of wild, sexually mature flies for protein are minimal and that flies can readily gain sufficient nutrients from wild sources for their physiological needs. The results offer a mechanistic explanation for the poor response of male and mature female fruit flies to protein bait spray.

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