Flores, Micah (2013-08). Life-History Traits Of Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) And Its Associated Non-Consumptive Effects On Cochliomyia macellaria (Fabricius) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) Behavior And Development. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • Blow fly (Diptera: Calliphoridae) interactions in decomposition ecology are well studied; however, the non-consumptive effects (NCE) of predators on the behavior and development of prey species have yet to be examined. The effects of these interactions and the resulting cascades in the ecosystem dynamics are important for species conservation and community structures. The resulting effects can impact the time of colonization (TOC) of remains for use in minimum post-mortem interval (mPMI) estimations. The development of the predacious blow fly, Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart) was examined and determined to be sensitive to muscle type reared on, and not temperatures exposed to. Development time is important in forensic investigations utilizing entomological evidence to help establish a mPMI. Validation of the laboratory-based development data was done through blind TOC calculations and comparisons with known TOC times to assess errors. A range of errors was observed, depending on the stage of development of the collected flies, for all methods tested with no one method providing the most accurate estimation. The NCE of the predator blow fly on prey blow fly, Cochliomyia macellaria (Fabricius) behavior and development were observed in the laboratory. Gravid female adult attraction was significantly greater to resources with predatory larvae rather than prey larvae and oviposition occurred on in the presence of heterospecific (predatory) and conspecific larvae equally. However, the life stages necessary for predation to occur never overlapped and so these results may not be as surprising as they seem. Conversely, exposing prey larvae to predator cues through larval excretions/secretions led to larger prey larvae and faster times to pupariation when appropriate life stages overlapped. Differences in size and development times of prey larvae in the presence of predatory cues could lead to errors when estimating the mPMI. These data also partially explain the ability of C. macellaria to survive in the presence of Ch. rufifacies. Colonization of a resource with late instar Ch. rufifacies enhanced development and size of resulting larvae indicating that lag colonization, rather than being a primary colonizer, could become an alternate strategy for C. macellaria to survive the selective pressures of the predator, Ch. rufifacies. The differing effects of temperature on Ch. rufifacies and C. macellaria may also lend an advantage to C. macellaria over the predacious Ch. rufifacies in an environment with variable temperatures unlike what Ch. rufifacies is adapted for.
  • Blow fly (Diptera: Calliphoridae) interactions in decomposition ecology are well studied; however, the non-consumptive effects (NCE) of predators on the behavior and development of prey species have yet to be examined. The effects of these interactions and the resulting cascades in the ecosystem dynamics are important for species conservation and community structures. The resulting effects can impact the time of colonization (TOC) of remains for use in minimum post-mortem interval (mPMI) estimations.

    The development of the predacious blow fly, Chrysomya rufifacies (Macquart) was examined and determined to be sensitive to muscle type reared on, and not temperatures exposed to. Development time is important in forensic investigations utilizing entomological evidence to help establish a mPMI. Validation of the laboratory-based development data was done through blind TOC calculations and comparisons with known TOC times to assess errors. A range of errors was observed, depending on the stage of development of the collected flies, for all methods tested with no one method providing the most accurate estimation.

    The NCE of the predator blow fly on prey blow fly, Cochliomyia macellaria (Fabricius) behavior and development were observed in the laboratory. Gravid female adult attraction was significantly greater to resources with predatory larvae rather than prey larvae and oviposition occurred on in the presence of heterospecific (predatory) and conspecific larvae equally. However, the life stages necessary for predation to occur never overlapped and so these results may not be as surprising as they seem. Conversely, exposing prey larvae to predator cues through larval excretions/secretions led to larger prey larvae and faster times to pupariation when appropriate life stages overlapped. Differences in size and development times of prey larvae in the presence of predatory cues could lead to errors when estimating the mPMI. These data also partially explain the ability of C. macellaria to survive in the presence of Ch. rufifacies. Colonization of a resource with late instar Ch. rufifacies enhanced development and size of resulting larvae indicating that lag colonization, rather than being a primary colonizer, could become an alternate strategy for C. macellaria to survive the selective pressures of the predator, Ch. rufifacies. The differing effects of temperature on Ch. rufifacies and C. macellaria may also lend an advantage to C. macellaria over the predacious Ch. rufifacies in an environment with variable temperatures unlike what Ch. rufifacies is adapted for.

publication date

  • August 2013