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PeerJ. 2015 Jul 9;3:e1085. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1085. eCollection 2015.

Rearing the scuttle fly Megaselia scalaris (Diptera: Phoridae) on industrial compounds: implications on size and lifespan.

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EMBL/CRG Systems Biology Research Unit, Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona, Spain.
Contributed equally


Megaselia scalaris (Loew, 1866) (Diptera, phoridae) is a cosmopolitan fly species used in forensic science, and has been developed as a laboratory model species. They feed on decaying corpses as well as a wide variety of organic matter, and previous studies have even found them feeding on liquid paint or shoe polish, suggesting the possibility that they could breakdown industrial compounds. To test this possibility, we fed M. scalaris on a variety of industrially obtained materials and found that it was unable to complete its life cycle, dying at the larval stage, with the majority of compounds tested. However, when fed on modeling clay, a substrate that contains starch and inedible compounds, it was able to complete its life cycle. On this diet we observed increased larval development time, decreased pupal development time and a shortened adult life span. Additionally, pupae and adult flies were smaller than control flies. Contrary to previous reports, we find no evidence that M. scalaris is able to survive on modern formulations of liquid paint.


Lifespan; Megaselia scalaris; Modeling clay; Plasticity; Size

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