Functional morphology of the mouthparts of the adult Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata.
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Food-based attractants incorporating an insecticide are an important component of area-wide control programmes for the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae). This study was carried out to understand the feeding mechanism of adults of this species. Mouthparts of C. capitata are similar in general structure to those of another Tephritid genus, Bactrocera, and have specific structural modifications that determine what adult flies can ingest. The labellum has a series of fine tube-like structures, called pseudotracheae, on its inner surface. Each pseudotrachea leads from the outer margin of the labellum and ends at the prestomum to the oral opening. The pseudotracheae contain fine micropores about 0.5孠in size. During feeding, the oral opening is never exposed to the feeding substrate but the portions of the opposing labellar lobes proximal to the oral opening are flexed against each other and distal portions of the opposing labellar lobes are opened and pressed flat against the feeding substrate or surface. The prestomal spines at the base of each pseudotrachea interlock to form a barrier across the oral opening. Thus entry of large particles directly into the crop and gut through the oral opening is prevented by flexure of the opposing labellar lobes against each other and the interlocking prestomal spines across the oral opening. Only liquids and suspended particles less than 0.5孠in size are sucked through the micropores into the lumen of the pseudotracheae and then pass into the food canal and into the crop and gut. The pseudotracheae of adult C. capitata, particularly along the middle portion of the labellum, have prominent blade-like projections that Bactrocera do not have. These projections are probably an ancestral condition as they were not observed to use them to abrade the plant or feeding surface as has been reported for species in the Tephritid genus, Blepharoneura.
Journal of Insect Science
© 2008 The Author(s). This is an open access paper under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) license that permits unrestricted use, provided that the paper is properly attributed.
Animal Structure and Function