Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 261–270 | Cite as

Chemical attractants tested against the Australian bush flyMusca vetustissima (Diptera: Muscidae)

  • Mir S. Mulla
  • James T. Ridsdill-Smith


A number of chemical compositions known to attract several synanthropic and pest fly species were tested against the Australian bush flyMusca vetustissima, a severe and persistent pest of man and domesticated and wild mammals. A standard composition containing small quantities of trimethylamine and indole, blended with large amounts of ammonium sulfate and anchovy meal, showed good attractancy against this fly. Deletion of ammonium sulfate did not significantly alter attractancy. Similarly, incorporation ofn-butyric acid and linoleic acid into the formulation did not alter attractancy, nor did addition of several carbonates and bicarbonates. Skatole, a closely related compound to indole, decreased attractancy significantly. In all the tests, the attractant compositions lured greater number of females than males. The attractancy of the standard composition was studied and compared with equal amount of fresh cattle dung. Chemical attractants lured bush flies and not dung beetles, while dung attracted both flies and beetles. The dung resource was 4.6 × more attractive to flies than the standard attractant composition. This suggests that there are other chemical attractants emanating from dung that warrant isolation and identification work. Nevertheless, the chemical attractants studied here provide a starting point for further investigations. The ratio of female to male flies attracted to humans was greater than the ratio of flies attracted to chemicals. The sex ratio of flies netted from human host was 3.0, while the sex ratio of flies attracted to chemical attractants was 1.8. The preponderance of females attracted to both sources was probably due to physiological requirements of the sexes.

Key words

Bush fly Australian bush fly Musca vetustissima Diptera Muscidae chemical attractants 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mir S. Mulla
    • 1
  • James T. Ridsdill-Smith
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideCalifornia
  2. 2.Division of EntomologyCSIROWestern Australia

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