, Volume 87, Issue 3, pp 394–400

Effect of physiological and experiential state ofBactrocera tryoni flies on intra-tree foraging behavior for food (bacteria) and host fruit


  • Ronald J. Prokopy
    • Department of EntomologyUniversity of Massachusetts
  • Richard A. I. Drew
    • Department of Primary IndustriesEntomology Branch
  • Bruce N. E. Sabine
    • Department of Primary IndustriesEntomology Branch
  • Annice C. Lloyd
    • Department of Primary IndustriesEntomology Branch
  • Edward Hamacek
    • Department of Primary IndustriesEntomology Branch
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00634597

Cite this article as:
Prokopy, R.J., Drew, R.A.I., Sabine, B.N.E. et al. Oecologia (1991) 87: 394. doi:10.1007/BF00634597


Using caged host trees on which we manipulated food and oviposition sites, we investigated the foraging behavior of individually-releasedBactrocera tryoni (Diptera: Tephritidae) females in relation to state of fly hunger for protein, presence or absence of bacteria as a source of protein, degree of prior experience with host fruit, and quality of host fruit for oviposition. One aim was to evaluate whether it is immature or matureB. tryoni females that are responsible for initially inoculating host fruit surfaces with “fruit-fly-type” bacteria, the odor of which is known to attractB. tryoni females. We found that 3-week-old immature females provided with sucrose but deprived of protein from eclosion had a much greater propensity than 3-week-old protein-fed mature females to visit vials containing fruit-fly-type bacteria, irrespective of whether vials were associated with adjacent host fruit or not. In the absence of associated bacteria in vials, immature females had a much lower propensity than mature females to visit host fruit. In the presence of bacteria in vials, however, propensity of immature and mature females to visit fruit was about equal. Mature (but not immature) females were more inclined to visit fruit that ranked higher for oviposition (nectarines) than fruit that ranked lower (sweet oranges). Mature females that attempted oviposition during a single 3-min exposure period to a nectarine prior to release were much more likely to find a nectarine than were mature females naive to fruit or immature females with or without prior contact with fruit. Exposure to a nectarine before release did not affect the propensity of either mature or immature females to alight on an odorless visual model of a nectarine, however. As judged by numbers of leaves visited, protein-deprived immature females were more active than protein-fed mature females, irrespective of the sorts of resources on a tree. Together, our findings lead us to conclude that (1) the firstB. tryoni females to arrive on the fruit of a host tree and therefore inoculate the fruit with fruit-fly-type bacteria are unlikely to be sexually immature, but to be mature as a result of having earlier acquired protein elsewhere, (2) the odor of colonies of fruit-fly-type bacteria when associated with host fruit will attract protein-hungry but not protein-fed females, and (3) the odor of the fruit itself will attract mature females (especially experienced ones) but not immature females. These findings illustrate the value of considering jointly the state of a resource patch together with the physiological and experiential state of the individual when investigating the foraging behavior of an insect.

Key words

Physiological stateExperienceForagingBacteria as insect foodBactrocera tryoni

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991