We needed a technique to compare the consumption of baits by individual Carribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa (Loew). By improving consumption and determining individual dose, we could lower pesticide concentration while retaining bait/pesticide efficacy and potentially reduce the environmental impact of fruit fly bait/pesticide eradication methods. We report here a precise dye-based technique for the quantification of consumption by individual adult A. suspensa fruit flies. Fluorescein, measured at 491 nm, and cresol red, measured at 573 nm, were efficiently extracted with 0.1 M NaOH and quantified with a spectrophotometer. The lower limit for this method with 0.1% dye concentration is 300 nl consumed by an individual fly. Dye movement to the hindgut and possible defecation occurred in ≈4 h; maximum ingestion occurred in ≈1 h. Maximum experimental time is limited to 4 h. Flies preferred feeding upside down compared with right side up when given a choice; consumption was equal when flies were given no choice of feeding position. Thus, maximum bait/pesticide efficacy might be achieved with an upside-down presentation. Regurgitation led to a 100% overestimation of actual consumption with the J-tube presentation of food. Our individual fly consumption technique will be useful in comparing consumption in phagostimulant studies, estimating dose in oral toxicity tests, differentiating behavioral and physiological resistance in toxicant studies, ultimately leading to improved bait/pesticide methods and reduced environmental impact of area wide fruit fly eradication programs. This technique could be applied to studies of tephritid consumption, to the consumption of other insects, and to regurgitation studies.
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Vol. 97 • No. 6