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Life-history strategy in an oligophagous tephritid: the tomato fruit fly, Neoceratitis cyanescens

Brévault T., Duyck P.F., Quilici S.. 2008. Ecological Entomology, 33 (4) : p. 529-536.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2008.01006.x

In phytophagous insects, life-history traits mainly depend on host plant range. Substantial longevity, high fecundity and larval competition are the major traits of polyphagous Tephritidae while species with a restricted host range generally exhibit a lower longevity and fecundity as well as mechanisms to avoid larval competition. Our aim in this study was to investigate the life history of an oligophagous species, the tomato fruit fly, Neoceratitis cyanescens (Bezzi). We determined life tables under laboratory conditions in order to calculate the main demographic parameters of N. cyanescens and studied the influence of larval and adult diet on life-history traits.The mean longevity of N. cyanescens females was 40 days. There was a strong synchronisation of female maturity. Oviposition showed an early peak at 9-13 days after a short pre-oviposition period (6 days). The absence of proteins in the adult diet both delayed ovarian maturation and decreased female fecundity. In addition, females originating from tomato fruits produced significantly more eggs than females originating from bugweed or black nightshade, showing that even the larval host plant may strongly affect the subsequent fecundity of adult females. The traits of N. cyanescens are then discussed in the light of those documented for polyphagous and monophagous tephritids. Neoceratitis cyanescens displayed attributes intermediate between those of polyphagous and monophagous tephritids. Its smaller clutch size compared with polyphagous species and its specialisation on the Solanaceae family whose fruits contain toxic compounds may help in reducing intra- and inter-specific competition, respectively.

Mots-clés : tephritidae; dynamique des populations; fertilité; longévité; plante hôte; solanaceae; reproduction; histoire; Écologie animale; mouche des fruits; neoceratitis cyanescens

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