Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Social signals mediate oviposition site selection in Drosophila suzukii.

Abstract

The information that female insects perceive and use during oviposition site selection is complex and varies by species and ecological niche. Even in relatively unexploited niches, females interact directly and indirectly with conspecifics at oviposition sites. These interactions can take the form of host marking and re-assessment of prior oviposition sites during the decision-making process. Considerable research has focused on the niche breadth and host preference of the polyphagous invasive pest Drosophila suzukii Matsumura (Diptera: Drosophilidae), but little information exists on how conspecific signals modulate oviposition behavior. We investigated three layers of social information that female D. suzukii may use in oviposition site selection-(1) pre-existing egg density, (2) pre-existing larval occupation, and (3) host marking by adults. We found that the presence of larvae and host marking, but not egg density, influenced oviposition behavior and that the two factors interacted over time. Adult marking appeared to deter oviposition only in the presence of an unmarked substrate. These results are the first behavioral evidence for a host marking pheromone in a species of Drosophila. These findings may also help elucidate D. suzukii infestation and preference patterns within crop fields and natural areas.