We previously showed that the females of the mushroom sciarid, Lycoriella ingenua (Dufour, 1839) (Diptera: Sciaridae), one of the most severe pests of the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus (J.E. Lange) Emil J. Imbach (Agaricales: Agaricaceae), are attracted to the mushroom compost that mushrooms are grown on and not to the mushrooms themselves. We also showed that females are attracted to the parasitic green mold, Trichoderma aggressivum. In an attempt to identify what is in the mushroom compost that attracts female L. ingenua, we isolated several species of fungi from adult males and females, third instar larvae, and mushroom compost itself. We then analyzed the attraction of females to these substrates using a static-flow two choice olfactometer, as well as their oviposition tendencies in another type of assay under choice and no-choice conditions. We also assessed the survival of larvae to adulthood when first instar larvae were placed on each of the isolated fungal species. We found that female flies were attracted most to the mycoparasitic green mold, T. aggressivum, to Penicilium citrinum isolated from adult female bodies, and to Scatylidium thermophilium isolated from the mushroom compost. Gravid female flies laid the most eggs on T. aggressivum, Aspergillus flavus isolated from third instar larval frass, Aspergillus fumigatus isolated from adult male bodies, and on P. citrinum. This egg-laying trend remained consistent under no-choice conditions as females aged. First instar larvae developed to adulthood only on S. thermophilium and Chaetomium sp. isolated from mushroom compost, and on P. citrinum. Our results indicate that the volatiles from a suite of different fungal species act in tandem in the natural setting of mushroom compost, with some first attracting gravid female flies and then others causing them to oviposit. The ecological context of these findings is important for creating an optimal strategy for using possible semiochemicals isolated from these fungal species to better monitor and control this pestiferous mushroom fly species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)