• The effect of bacterially-dense environments on the development and immune defences of the blowfly Lucilia sericata

      Barnes, Kate M.; Gennard, Dorothy E.; University of Lincoln (Wiley, 2010-11-01)
      Competitive interactions between insects and microbes and the associated cost of development in bacterially-dense environments are investigated using the blowfly Lucilia sericata (Meigen) (Diptera: Calliphoridae) as a model. The effects of developing in a bacterially-dense environment are measured by assessing the fitness consequences of competition using the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Fitness is quantified in terms of larval survival, puparial development and adult emergence.The influence of bacteria on larval immune defences is investigated using optical density to assess whether antibacterial potency of the larval excretion/secretion changes in response to the degree of contamination of the larval environment. The results obtained demonstrate that bacterial presence has no detrimental effect on survival of L. sericata from egg to adult eclosion, or on puparial size. Additionally, the level of microbial contamination of larvae has no effect on the antibacterial potency of the larval excretion/secretion. These findings confirm that larval antibacterial activity is not induced by the presence of environmental bacteria but is produced constitutively.