Gas-Exchange Patterns of Mediterranean Fruit Fly Pupae (Diptera: Tephritidae): A Tool to Forecast Developmental Stage

  • David Nestel
  • Esther Nemny-Lavy
  • Victor Alchanatis


The pattern of gas-exchange (CO2 emission) was investigated for developing Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) pupae incubated at different temperatures. This study was undertaken to explore the usefulness of gas-exchange systems in the determination of physiological age in developing pupae that are mass produced for sterile insect technique projects. The rate of CO2 emission was measured in a closed flow-through system connected to commercial infrared gas analysis equipment. Metabolic activity (rate of CO2 emission) was related to pupal eye-color, which is the current technique used to determine physiological age. Eye-color was characterized digitally with 3 variables (Hue, Saturation and Intensity), and color separated by discriminant analysis. The rate of CO2 emission throughout pupal development followed a U-shape, with high levels of emission during pupariation, pupal transformation and final pharate adult stages. Temperature affected the development time of pupae, but not the basic CO2 emission patterns during development. In all temperatures, rates of CO2 emission 1 and 2 d before adult emergence were very similar. After mid larval-adult transition (e.g., phanerocephalic pupa), digital eye-color was significantly correlated with CO2 emission. Results support the suggestion that gas-exchange should be explored further as a system to determine pupal physiological age in mass production of fruit flies.

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