Current ammonia-based lures vary considerably in their ability to attract Anastrepha fruit flies in the field. This report presents results from electroantennography (EAG) and behavioral bioassays that examined the effect of age on fly response to ammonia and carbon dioxide, two volatile chemicals released from commercial ammonium bicarbonate lures. EAG measurements from female Caribbean fruit flies, Anastrepha suspensa (Loew), showed that ammonia generated a greater EAG response in sexually immature females compared with mature females. Conversely, carbon dioxide elicited stronger EAG responses in sexually mature females. In flight tunnel bioassays, females from both age groups were captured in response to ammonia ranging from 60 to 3840 μg/h, but captures declined with increasing ammonia concentration. In bioassays with the two highest ammonia release rates, captures of immature females were significantly lower than captures of mature females. Carbon dioxide, ranging from 300 to 7200 μg/h, did not capture any flies when presented alone in the flight tunnel bioassay. However, for sexually mature flies, carbon dioxide in combination with ammonia was more attractive than ammonia alone. These age-related differences in response to ammonia and carbon dioxide may account for some of the variability observed in field tests with ammonium bicarbonate lures.
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