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J Insect Physiol. 2011 Dec;57(12):1622-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2011.08.013. Epub 2011 Aug 26.

Management of protein intake in the fruit fly Anastrepha fraterculus.

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Estación Experimental Agroindustrial Obispo Colombres, Tucumán, Argentina.


This work tested if carbohydrates and proteins ingestion is regulated in the South American fruit fly, Anastrepha fraterculus, to optimize survival and reproduction. Adult food treatments were established by providing sugar and hydrolyzed yeast in various combinations either alone or mixed at a standard 3:1 ratio (sugar:hydrolyzed yeast). Individual food consumption was assessed and related to survival patterns. The effects of adult feeding on fecundity and fertility patterns were investigated in groups of flies. Sugar consumption was the lowest in the treatment where it was provided with hydrolyzed yeast at a fixed 3:1 ratio. Consumption of hydrolyzed yeast did not differ between this treatment and the one in which this solution was complemented with one solution of sugar. It seems that a mixture of sugar and hydrolyzed yeast at a fixed ratio of 3:1, respectively, restricts extra ingestion of sugar; most probably because of negative response of the fly to overconsumption of protein. Survival was affected by the treatments, being lower in those cases where protein was at the fixed ratio. Group experiments revealed that protein restriction expanded longevity and decreased egg production. In contrast, egg production was enhanced when flies were kept continuously with a mixture of yeast and sugar plus an extra source of sugar, and this was not in detriment of survival. Our results suggest that fixed sugar-protein ratios in which protein is in excess affects fitness components such as longevity and reproduction. These findings are discussed from a theoretical and applied perspective in the context of pest control by means of the sterile insect technique.

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