An investigation into the effects of homopteran honeydew sugars versus floral nectar sugars on black fly longevity, flight performance and digestion /
Stanfield, Trudy K.
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Floral nectar is thought to be the primary carbohydrate source for most dipteran species. However, it has been shown that black flies (Burgin & Hunter 1997 a,b,c), mosquitoes (Foster 1995; Burkett et al. 1999; Russell & Hunter 2002), deer flies (Magnarelli & Burger 1984; Janzen & Hunter 1998; Ossowski & Hunter 2000), horse flies (Schutz & Gaugler 1989; Hunter & Ossowski 1999) and sand flies (MacVicker et al. 1990; Wallbanks et al. 1990; Cameron et al. 1992, 1995; Schlein & Jacobson 1994, 1999; Hamilton & EI Naiem 2000) feed on homopteran honeydew as well as floral nectar. Prior to 1997 floral nectar was thought to be the main source of carbohydrates for black flies. However, Burgin & Hunter (1 997a) demonstrated that up to 35% of black flies had recently consumed meals of homo pte ran honeydew. This information has necessitated a re-assessment of many life history aspects of black flies. Attempts are being made to examine the effects of nectar versus honeydew on black fly fecundity and parasite transmission (Hazzard 2003). Recently, Stanfield and Hunter (unpublished data) have shown that in female black flies, honeydew sugars produce flights of longer distance and duration than do nectar sugars. This thesis examines two aspects of black fly biology as it relates to sugar meal consumption. First, the effects of honeydew and nectar on black fly longevity are examined. Second, the proximate causation behind longer flight performances in honeydew-fed flies will be examined. The comparison between these two sources is important because nectar is composed of mainly simple sugars (monosaccharides and disaccharides) whereas honeydew is composed of both simple and complex sugars (including trisaccharides and tetrasaccharides ).