Effects of carbohydrate types on larval development and adult traits in a polyphagous fruit fly

Juliano Morimoto* (Corresponding Author), Binh Nguyen, Ida Lundbäck, Anh The Than, Shabnam T. Tabrizi, Fleur Ponton, Philip W Taylor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Nutrition is a major mediator of insect life-history trait expression. While the role of macronutrient (carbohydrate and protein) balance on trait expression has received substantial attention, the implications of different classes of specific macronutrients remains virtually unexplored. Here, we addressed this gap by varying the type of carbohydrate in larval diets of the polyphagous fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni (aka ‘Queensland fruit fly’). Sourcing insects from a colony maintained using larval diets that contain sucrose, we assessed the effects of sucrose, maltose, and lactose on larval development and adult traits. Replacement of sucrose with lactose resulted in slow larval growth, as well as decreases in pupation, adult emergence and adult body weight for both sexes, although adult lipid reserves were unaffected. Sucrose and maltose were equivalent in terms of larval growth, pupation, adult emergence and adult weight of both sexes. Surprisingly, adults from larvae reared on diets containing maltose had lower lipid reserves than adults from larvae reared on diets containing either lactose or sucrose. The sex ratio of adults at emergence from larvae reared on diets containing lactose and maltose was balanced, but was female-biased in adults from larvae reared on diets containing sucrose. Our results show that carbohydrate sources are not equivalent for development of the Queensland fruit fly, affecting both larval development and adult traits. These findings have implications for understanding the ecology of this highly polyphagous species which infests fruits with highly diverse carbohydrate contents, as well as for the rearing and management of this pest species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103969
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Early online date1 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

This research was conducted as part of the SITplus collaborative fruit fly program. Project Raising Q-fly Sterile Insect Technique to World Standard (HG14033) is funded by the Hort Frontiers Fruit Fly Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative developed by Hort Innovation, with co-investment from Macquarie University and contributions from the Australian Government. BN is funded by the international Research Training Program (iRTP) scholarship from Macquarie University (NSW, Australia) and HD is supported by the International Macquarie University Research Training Program scholarship (iMQRTP). We thank two anonymous reviewers and Spencer Behmer for useful comments to improve the quality of the manuscript.


  • nutritional ecology
  • larval behaviour
  • developmental environment
  • evolutionary ecology
  • Evolutionary ecology
  • Developmental environment
  • DIET
  • Larval behaviour
  • Nutritional ecology


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