Life table assay of field-caught mediterranean fruit flies, ceratitis capitata, reveals age bias
AuthorKouloussis, N. A.; Papadopoulos, N. T.; Müller, H. G.; Wang, J. L.; Mao, M.; Katsoyannos, B. I.; Duyck, P. F.; Carey, J. R.
Though traps are used widely to sample phytophagous insects for research or management purposes, and recently in aging research, possible bias stemming from differential response of individuals of various ages to traps has never been examined. In this paper, we tested the response of Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) males and females of four ages (spanning from 1 to 40 days) to McPhail-type traps baited with a synthetic food attractant in field cages and found that the probability of trapping was significantly influenced by age. The type of food on which flies were maintained before testing (sugar or protein) also had a strong effect and interacted with age. In another experiment, we collected wild C. capitata adults of unknown age using 1-3 methods and then reared them in the laboratory until death. The survival schedules of these flies were subsequently used in a life table assay to infer their age at the time of capture. Results showed that on a single sampling date, males captured in traps baited with a food attractant were younger compared with males aspirated from fruiting host trees, or males captured in traps baited with a sex attractant. Likewise, females captured in food-baited traps were younger compared with aspirated females. In addition to providing the first evidence of age-dependent sampling bias for a phytophagous insect species, this paper also provides a novel approach to estimate the differences in the age composition of samples collected with different techniques. These findings are of utmost importance for several categories of insects, medically important groups notwithstanding. © 2009 The Authors.