U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Priority Effects on the Life-History Traits of Two Carrion Blow Fly (Diptera, Calliphoridae) Species

NCJ Number
Ecological Entomology Dated: 2014
Date Published
9 pages
This article presents research finding that detail the life-history traits of two carrion blow fly species and their relationship to forensic entomology.
Research findings suggest the following. Third instars of the invasive blow fly, Chrysomya rufifacies, are facultative predators on larvae of the native blow fly Cochliomyia macellaria. The effects of priority arrival time on the survivorship and fitness of C. rufifacies and C. macellaria were investigated in laboratory experiments. Cochliomyia macellaria colonising a resource within 1-2 days after C. rufifacies resulted in a 20-70% reduction in survivorship, pupal weight and fecundity compared with those colonising a resource more than 2 days before or after C. rufifacies. Inversely, C. rufifacies exhibited a 50% increase in survivorship and fecundity when closely (∼2 days) associated temporally on the resource with C. macellaria and was negatively affected by disparate arrival. These results demonstrate that arrival sequence significantly affects the fitness of both C. rufifacies and C. macellaria. Early colonisation may allow C. macellaria to persist in a community, while there are fitness benefits for C. rufifacies colonising after C. macellaria. The 60% reduction in C. macellaria survivorship when in close temporal association with C. rufifacies may act as an agent of selection for C. macellaria to colonise a resource early and develop quickly to avoid predation on resources colonised by C. rufifacies. Selection for such traits may explain how C. macellaria is able to persist despite intraguild predation by this invasive species. In contrast, the 50% increase in survivorship and fecundity exhibited by C. rufifacies when arriving after C. macellaria may select for C. rufifacies to delay colonisation. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: January 1, 2014