The mushroom phorid fly, Megaselia halterata (Wood), is a common pest of mushroom production in many parts of the world. Due to the reduced availability of conventional insecticides for mushroom production, M. halterata has recently developed into a major pest in the top mushroom-producing county in the United States (Chester County, PA). Mushrooms are grown entirely indoors, and though larval development of M. halterata occurs in the mushroom-growing substrate, adult flies have been captured both inside and outside of the facilities. Here, we investigated three factors that might contribute to their growth and development. 1) The effects of ambient temperature (15-30°C) and relative humidity (RH; 21-98%) on adult M. halterata lifespan, 2) the effect of spawned compost stage (freshly inoculated with spawn vs 14-d spawned compost) on reproductive output, and 3) the effect of population density on reproductive output. The longevity of adult M. halterata increased under cooler temperatures and more humid conditions (>75% RH), which reflect the conditions inside mushroom-growing facilities. Similar numbers of flies emerged from freshly inoculated and 14-d spawned compost, but flies emerged earlier from 14-d spawned compost. The higher the parental fly density, the more offspring emerged from spawned compost, but the positive relationship reached a plateau beyond 40 parental mating pairs per 100 g of compost. Our findings highlight relevant abiotic and biotic factors that may contribute to M. halterata population dynamics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science