Phormia Terraenovae

The blowfly Phormia terraenovae (= Protophormia terraenovae) is a holarctic distributed calliphorid fly. It is abundant in the cooler regions and was found in Spitsbergen as well as within 550 miles of the North Pole. This synanthropic fly plays an important role as indicator in forensic biology since especially calliphorids are recognized as the first wave of the faunal succession on human cadavers.

Under free-living conditions both sexes can be found on umbels of Apiaceae. The compact body of these flies is shiny metallic blue. Their eyes and wings are well developed. The mouth parts operate as licking proboscis. Males and females are easily distinguished by the different positions of their eyes; there is a broad interspace in females and a negligible one in males. The natural food of both sexes is nectar.

Phormia belongs to the group of anautogenous insects in contrast to autogenous insects. The term autogenous, particularly used for dipterans, means that during metamorphosis larval protein is transferred into the

Figure 21.2. Insects used (b) Gastrophysa, (c) Panorpa in our laboratory: (a) Phormia,

Figure 21.2. Insects used (b) Gastrophysa, (c) Panorpa in our laboratory: (a) Phormia, adult. In female adults this protein is an indispensable requisite for the development of eggs. In male adults it often serves as source for the synthesis of the accessory genital gland fluids: a prerequisite for the insemination of females. Anautogenic insects such as Phormia rely on exogenic protein sources. Under natural conditions protein is a rare and ephemeric substrate. Time and the opportunity of acquisition influence the aging process.

Rearing conditions We perform the stock culture of flies under a 16:8 (l:d) light regime with a temperature of 25°C and a relative humidity of 60 to 75%. The raising room is illuminated with ''Lumilux-Eco Daylight'' lamps (Osram). The cages are cubic with an edge length of 50 cm. This is sufficient for a population of 400 flies. The cages are covered on top and on two sides with gauze. The third side is attached with black cloth containing a sleeve. The front site is covered with a removable Plexiglas pane.

Three plastic Petri dishes with lump sugar, minced meat and water (on filter paper to avoid drowning of the flies) are placed inside the cage. If provided with meat, newly emerged flies start to lay eggs after about three days. Half a teaspoon of eggs will provide about 2500 individuals for a new generation. The eggs are placed together with meat in plastic containers (25 x 20 x 15 cm l/w/h) filled up to one-third with sawdust. The sawdust must always be moist to avoid drying of the meat and to fix the ammonia, which is produced by the maggots. The larvae hatch after about 24 hours: they need an increasing amount of meat. During the last days of larval development this amount can reach up to 500 g per day. After 7 to 10 days after hatching, the larvae stop feeding and start to pupate. The pupae are now transferred to fresh sawdust and placed into a new cage. Here the new generation of adult flies emerge after 5 to 8 days. To obtain a cohort with definite age structure, the emergence can be better synchronized by placing the cage for several hours in a cooling chamber at about 4°C.

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