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Life History Traits of the Liverwort Herbivore Scatopsciara cunicularius (Diptera: Sciaridae)

Sawangproh, W., Cronberg, N.
Annals of the Entomological Society of America 2016 v.109 no.3 pp. 343-349
Marchantia polymorpha, Sciaridae, adults, biological control, cold, eggs, females, herbivores, insects, juveniles, life history, longevity, males, mosses and liverworts, oviposition, phenology, progeny, pupae, rearing, sex ratio, temperature
We studied the behavior, life cycle, and reproductive biology of the sciarid fly Scatopsciara cunicularius (Lengersdorf, 1943) under two constant temperatures. The sciarid was reared at 12.3 ± 0.6°C and 22 ± 1.7°C on its host, the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha L. Our results show that the sciarid fly is able to complete its life cycle with liverwort tissue as its only source of food. The egg-laying potential of the insect ranged from 70–174 eggs per female (mean 110 ± 31 eggs). Reproduction was digenic, meaning that one female can produce both male and female progeny. The overall sex ratio did not depart from 1:1, although the progeny sex ratio was highly variable. The developmental period of S. cunicularius was considerably longer in the colder than the warmer temperature. Mean development time of the egg, larva, and pupal stages, and adult longevity in the warm regime was 4, 20, 4, and 5 d, whereas mean development time of each juvenile stage and adult longevity in the cold regime was 13, 95, 11, and 8 d, respectively. The results suggest that the phenology of S. cunicularius is temperature dependent. Scatopsciara cunicularius could constitute a promising agent for biological control of M. polymorpha.