Genetics and Ecological Evolution of Dipteran Pest Species

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Molecular Biology and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2023) | Viewed by 12087

Special Issue Editors

Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI, USA
Interests: insect genetics; molecular taxonomy; forensic entomology and transcriptomics
Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas—Facultad de Agonomía y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Tucumán, Argentina
Interests: Anastrepha fraterculus; fruit fly; Tephritidae pest

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Many of the world’s most impactful insect pest species of agricultural and medical importance are found in the order Diptera. These include multiple species of true fruit flies, mosquitoes, tsetse flies, blow flies, and house flies, just to name a few. In addition to the widespread devastation and suffering caused by these pests in various habitats around the world where they are currently found, these species also tend to be highly invasive and capable of adapting to new ecological niches. In part because of these problems, at both the international and local levels, considerable resources have been committed to controlling these species and limiting their spread through both chemical and biological control programs. In many cases, however, these control programs have suffered from a fundamental lack of knowledge of the genetics and ecology of these pest species. The goal of this Special Issue is to bring about a more comprehensive understanding, in general, of what is known about the genetics and ecology of these Dipteran pest species and how, in particular, this information might be used to improve the effectiveness of control programs. 

Prof. Dr. David S. Haymer
Prof. Dr. Teresa Vera  
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • genetics of Dipteran pest species
  • ecology of Dipteran pest species
  • evolution of Dipteran pest species
  • invasive Dipteran species
  • control of medical and agricultural pest species

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 3713 KiB  
Article
Mass-Rearing Conditions Do Not Always Reduce Genetic Diversity: The Case of the Mexican Fruit Fly, Anastrepha ludens (Diptera: Tephritidae)
Insects 2024, 15(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects15010056 - 12 Jan 2024
Viewed by 747
Abstract
The application of the sterile insect technique (SIT) requires the adaptation of insects to mass-rearing conditions. It is generally accepted that this adaptation may include a reduction in genetic diversity and an associated loss of desirable characteristics for the effective performance of sterile [...] Read more.
The application of the sterile insect technique (SIT) requires the adaptation of insects to mass-rearing conditions. It is generally accepted that this adaptation may include a reduction in genetic diversity and an associated loss of desirable characteristics for the effective performance of sterile insects in the field. Here, we compare the genetic diversity of two mass-reared strains of the Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens, and a wild (WIL) population collected near Tapachula, Mexico, using seven DNA microsatellites as molecular genetic markers. The mass-reared strains were a bisexual laboratory strain (LAB) with approximately 130 generations under mass-rearing and a genetic sexing strain, Tapachula-7 (TA7), also under mass-rearing for 100 generations. Our results revealed an overall low level of genetic differentiation (approximately 15%) among the three strains, with the LAB and WIL populations being genetically most similar and TA7 most genetically differentiated. Although there were some differences in allele frequencies between strains, our results show that overall, the adaptation to mass-rearing conditions did not reduce genetic variability compared to the wild sample in terms of heterozygosity or allelic richness, nor did it appear to alter the level of inbreeding with respect to the wild populations. These results are contrary to the general idea that mass-rearing always results in a reduction in genetic diversity. Overall, our findings can contribute to a better understanding of the impact that adaptation to mass-rearing conditions may have on the genetic make-up of strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Ecological Evolution of Dipteran Pest Species)
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21 pages, 5396 KiB  
Article
Characterization of the Bacterial Profile from Natural and Laboratory Glossina Populations
Insects 2023, 14(11), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14110840 - 29 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 975
Abstract
Tsetse flies (Glossina spp.; Diptera: Glossinidae) are viviparous flies that feed on blood and are found exclusively in sub-Saharan Africa. They are the only cyclic vectors of African trypanosomes, responsible for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) and animal African trypanosomiasis (AAT). In this [...] Read more.
Tsetse flies (Glossina spp.; Diptera: Glossinidae) are viviparous flies that feed on blood and are found exclusively in sub-Saharan Africa. They are the only cyclic vectors of African trypanosomes, responsible for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) and animal African trypanosomiasis (AAT). In this study, we employed high throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene to unravel the diversity of symbiotic bacteria in five wild and three laboratory populations of tsetse species (Glossina pallidipes, G. morsitans, G. swynnertoni, and G. austeni). The aim was to assess the dynamics of bacterial diversity both within each laboratory and wild population in relation to the developmental stage, insect age, gender, and location. Our results indicated that the bacterial communities associated with the four studied Glossina species were significantly influenced by their region of origin, with wild samples being more diverse compared to the laboratory samples. We also observed that the larval microbiota was significantly different than the adults. Furthermore, the sex and the species did not significantly influence the formation of the bacterial profile of the laboratory colonies once these populations were kept under the same rearing conditions. In addition, Wigglesworthia, Acinetobacter, and Sodalis were the most abundant bacterial genera in all the samples, while Wolbachia was significantly abundant in G. morsitans compared to the other studied species. The operational taxonomic unit (OTU) co-occurrence network for each location (VVBD insectary, Doma, Makao, and Msubugwe) indicated a high variability between G. pallidipes and the other species in terms of the number of mutual exclusion and copresence interactions. In particular, some bacterial genera, like Wigglesworthia and Sodalis, with high relative abundance, were also characterized by a high degree of interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Ecological Evolution of Dipteran Pest Species)
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13 pages, 1077 KiB  
Article
Behavioural and Electrophysiological Response of Anastrepha fraterculus (Diptera: Tephritidae) to a γ-Lactone Synthetic Semiochemical
Insects 2023, 14(2), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14020206 - 18 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1565
Abstract
Attractants are a powerful tool for pest management. The lack of specific attractants for the South American fruit fly, Anastrepha fraterculus, a complex of cryptic species of great economic importance in South America, makes it difficult to monitor the pest in the [...] Read more.
Attractants are a powerful tool for pest management. The lack of specific attractants for the South American fruit fly, Anastrepha fraterculus, a complex of cryptic species of great economic importance in South America, makes it difficult to monitor the pest in the field. The γ-lactone male sex and aggregation pheromones of several Anastrepha species, naturally released in a 7:3 epianastrephin to anastrephin ratio, and a structurally related naturally occurring γ-lactone ((±)-trans-tetrahydroactinidiolide) with gem-dimethyl groups (dimethyl) at C(4), were evaluated as potential attractants of this species. Different age and mating conditions of A. fraterculus males and females were evaluated during electroantennography (EAG) and field cage experiments in which polymeric lures were deployed to contain 100 mg of attractant. Epianastrephin and dimethyl were EAG+ for all fly conditions, with epianastrephin eliciting the highest response for both sexes and immature flies showing greater responsiveness than mature flies. In the field cage experiments, immature flies were only attracted to leks; virgin females were attracted to leks, dimethyl, and both epianastrephin-anastrephin formulations (95 and 70 wt.% epianastrephin); mature-mated males were attracted to leks, dimethyl and 70 wt.% epianastrephin; and mature-mated females were only attracted to leks. Our bioassays showed a promising performance of the analog dimethyl since it elicited the same response as epianastrephin, requires fewer steps to synthesize, and contains one less chiral center than the natural pheromones. The attraction to leks was recorded for all mating conditions and ages of flies and suggests that air-borne volatiles of calling males contain cues that could act as sensory traps. The addition of any of these compounds in the synthetic attractants may result in a greater attraction and thus deserves further evaluation. Dose-response experiments will provide additional information to move a step forward and validate the results obtained in open-field conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Ecological Evolution of Dipteran Pest Species)
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14 pages, 1076 KiB  
Article
Effect of Fruit Volatiles from Native Host Plants on the Sexual Performance of Anastrepha fraterculus sp. 1 Males
Insects 2023, 14(2), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14020188 - 14 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1172
Abstract
Anastrepha fraterculus sp.1 males are sexually stimulated by the aroma of fruit of its native host Psidium guajava (guava). Other hosts, which are exotic to A. fraterculus, do not enhance male sexual behavior. Here we evaluate the effects of fruit volatile exposure [...] Read more.
Anastrepha fraterculus sp.1 males are sexually stimulated by the aroma of fruit of its native host Psidium guajava (guava). Other hosts, which are exotic to A. fraterculus, do not enhance male sexual behavior. Here we evaluate the effects of fruit volatile exposure on male A. fraterculus sp. 1 sexual performance using other native hosts, under the hypothesis that male improvement derives from a common evolutionary history between A. fraterculus sp. 1 and its native hosts. Four species were evaluated: Eugenia myrcianthes, Juglans australis, Psidium cattleianum, and Acca sellowiana. Guava was used as a positive control. Males were exposed to fruit from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm, from day 8 to day 11 post-emergence. On day 12, we evaluated their calling behavior and mating success. Both guava and P. cattleianum enhanced calling behavior. Mating success was enhanced only by guava and a trend was found for P. cattleianum. Interestingly, the two hosts belong to the Psidium genus. A volatile analysis is planned to identify the compounds responsible for this phenomenon. The other native fruits did not improve the sexual behavior of males. Implications of our findings in the management of A. fraterculus sp. 1 are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Ecological Evolution of Dipteran Pest Species)
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14 pages, 1341 KiB  
Article
Vast Gene Flow among the Spanish Populations of the Pest Bactrocera oleae (Diptera, Tephritidae), Phylogeography of a Metapopulation to Be Controlled and Its Mediterranean Genetic Context
Insects 2022, 13(7), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13070642 - 17 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2066
Abstract
Spain is the leading producer of olives and olive oil. Ninety-five percent of world production originate from Spain and other regions of the Mediterranean Basin. However, these olive-growing countries face a major problem, the harmful fly Bactrocera oleae, the main pest of [...] Read more.
Spain is the leading producer of olives and olive oil. Ninety-five percent of world production originate from Spain and other regions of the Mediterranean Basin. However, these olive-growing countries face a major problem, the harmful fly Bactrocera oleae, the main pest of olive crops. To improve its control, one of the challenges is the further knowledge of the species and populations dynamics in this area. A phylogeographic work is necessary to further characterise the levels and distribution patterns of genetic diversity of the Spanish populations and their genetic relationships with other Mediterranean populations. A 1151 bp fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) gene has been analysed in over 250 specimens of the six main Mediterranean countries via sequencing. Genetic diversity parameters were high; 51 new haplotypes have been identified showing a geographical pattern across the Mediterranean area. The data revealed that olive fruit fly populations have been long time established in the Mediterranean Basin with two genetic groups. Gene flow seems to be the main process in shaping this genetic structure as well as fly’s colonisation routes that have paralleled those of the olive tree. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Ecological Evolution of Dipteran Pest Species)
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13 pages, 977 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Fast Radiation on the Phylogeny of Bactrocera Fruit Flies as Revealed by Multiple Evolutionary Models and Mutation Rate-Calibrated Clock
Insects 2022, 13(7), 603; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13070603 - 30 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1835
Abstract
Several true fruit flies (Tephritidae) cause major damage to agriculture worldwide. Among them, species of the genus Bactrocera are extensively studied to understand the traits associated with their invasiveness and ecology. Comparative approaches based on a reliable phylogenetic framework are particularly effective, but [...] Read more.
Several true fruit flies (Tephritidae) cause major damage to agriculture worldwide. Among them, species of the genus Bactrocera are extensively studied to understand the traits associated with their invasiveness and ecology. Comparative approaches based on a reliable phylogenetic framework are particularly effective, but several nodes of the Bactrocera phylogeny are still controversial, especially concerning the reciprocal affinities of the two major pests B. dorsalis and B. tryoni. Here, we analyzed a newly assembled genomic-scaled dataset using different models of evolution to infer a phylogenomic backbone of ten representative Bactrocera species and two outgroups. We further provide the first genome-scaled inference of their divergence by calibrating the clock using fossil records and the spontaneous mutation rate. The results reveal a closer relationship of B. dorsalis with B. latifrons than to B. tryoni, contrary to what was previously supported by mitochondrial-based phylogenies. By employing coalescent-aware and heterogeneous evolutionary models, we show that this incongruence likely derives from a hitherto undetected systematic error, exacerbated by incomplete lineage sorting and possibly hybridization. This agrees with our clock analysis, which supports a rapid and recent radiation of the clade to which B. dorsalis, B. latifrons and B. tryoni belong. These results provide a new picture of Bactrocera phylogeny that can serve as the basis for future comparative analyses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Ecological Evolution of Dipteran Pest Species)
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22 pages, 2027 KiB  
Article
Fruit Fly Larval Survival in Picked and Unpicked Tomato Fruit of Differing Ripeness and Associated Gene Expression Patterns
Insects 2022, 13(5), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13050451 - 10 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2043
Abstract
The larvae of frugivorous tephritid fruit flies feed within fruit and are global pests of horticulture. With the reduced use of pesticides, alternative control methods are needed, of which fruit resistance is one. In the current study, we explicitly tested for phenotypic evidence [...] Read more.
The larvae of frugivorous tephritid fruit flies feed within fruit and are global pests of horticulture. With the reduced use of pesticides, alternative control methods are needed, of which fruit resistance is one. In the current study, we explicitly tested for phenotypic evidence of induced fruit defences by running concurrent larval survival experiments with fruit on or off the plant, assuming that defence induction would be stopped or reduced by fruit picking. This was accompanied by RT-qPCR analysis of fruit defence and insect detoxification gene expression. Our fruit treatments were picking status (unpicked vs. picked) and ripening stage (colour break vs. fully ripe), our fruit fly was the polyphagous Bactrocera tryoni, and larval survival was assessed through destructive fruit sampling at 48 and 120 h, respectively. The gene expression study targeted larval and fruit tissue samples collected at 48 h and 120 h from picked and unpicked colour-break fruit. At 120 h in colour-break fruit, larval survival was significantly higher in the picked versus unpicked fruit. The gene expression patterns in larval and plant tissue were not affected by picking status, but many putative plant defence and insect detoxification genes were upregulated across the treatments. The larval survival results strongly infer an induced defence mechanism in colour-break tomato fruit that is stronger/faster in unpicked fruits; however, the gene expression patterns failed to provide the same clear-cut treatment effect. The lack of conformity between these results could be related to expression changes in unsampled candidate genes, or due to critical changes in gene expression that occurred during the unsampled periods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and Ecological Evolution of Dipteran Pest Species)
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