Journal Article

Age Estimation of Mexican Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Based on Accumulation of Pterins

Nada Tomic-carruthers, Robert Mangan and Raymond Carruthers

in Journal of Economic Entomology

Volume 95, issue 6, pages 1319-1325
Published in print December 2002 | ISSN: 0022-0493
Published online September 2014 | e-ISSN: 1938-291X | DOI:
Age Estimation of Mexican Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Based on Accumulation of Pterins

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A common method of aging adult flies, fluorescence spectrometry, was used to monitor the increase of overall pterine titer in head extracts of Anastrepha ludens (Loew). Accumulation of fluorescent compounds was measured as a function of chronological age of flies maintained at 17 and 27°C. Although relative fluorescence increased with age, field studies revealed that this phenomenon could not be used for accurate age estimation, as relative fluorescence did not increase predictably with age over the entire life span. Accumulation of individual pterins, deoxysepiapterin and sepiapterin, were studied in a similar manner. These two specific compounds were separated by high-pressure liquid chromatography and their accumulation was followed at 15 and 30°C in the laboratory and under caged field conditions. While titer of deoxysepiapterin increased steadily in a curvilinear fashion, sepiapterin quickly reached a maximum and then maintained a constant level for the rest of the life of the flies. Based on the physiological response of deoxysepiapterin to chronological time and ambient thermal conditions, this compound was determined to be an age specific biological parameter for the Mexican fruit fly and should allow age estimation in field-collected flies.

Keywords: Anastrepha ludens; fluorescence; sepiapterin; deoxysepiapterin; age

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