Effects of age, diet, female density, and the host resource on egg load in Anastrepha ludens and Anastrepha obliqua (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Martín Aluja, Francisco Díaz-Fleischer, Daniel R. Papaj, Gloria Lagunes, John Sivinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Oocyte counts, used as a measure of egg load, were compared among three different age groups (15, 30 and 45 days) of two polyphagous species of tephritid fruit flies, Anastrepha ludens and Anastrepha obliqua, which were exposed to varying conditions of diet (sucrose vs sucrose and protein), availability of oviposition substrate (present vs absent), adult female density (1, 2 and 4 females/cage), and semiochemical context (presence vs absence of male pheromones and fruit volatiles). In both species, oocyte counts were higher in older females and for females fed sucrose and protein than for females fed sucrose only. The presence of artificial oviposition substrates influenced oocyte counts in A. obliqua, but not in A. ludens. Female density influenced oocyte counts in both species. Females maintained in groups had higher egg loads than isolated females. Finally, preliminary evidence suggests that semiochemical context influenced oocyte counts. Counts were highest for females in a room containing both fruit volatiles and male pheromone, lowest for females in a room containing neither volatiles nor pheromone, and intermediate for females in rooms containing either volatiles or pheromone but not both. Our results suggest that egg load is influenced by environmental factors in different ways in these two species. Egg load in A. obliqua, a species whose host fruits are highly ephemeral, is responsive to access to the host resource. By contrast, in A. ludens, a species infesting less ephemeral fruit, female density and age played a more important role than host stimuli. The role of ovarian maturation and oviposition in mediating these effects, as well as implications for mass rearing and pest management, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)975-988
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2001


  • Anastrepha
  • Egg load
  • Nutrition
  • Oogenesis
  • Social facilitation
  • Tephritidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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