Black soldier flies, Hermetia illucens L., are distributed throughout the temperate and tropic regions of the world and are known an established method for sustainably managing animal wastes. Colonies used to conduct research on the black soldier fly within the past 20 yr have predominately been established from eggs or larvae received from a colony originated from Bacon County, GA. Consequently, little is known about the phenotypic plasticity (i.e., development and waste conversion) across strains from different regions. This study compared the development of three strains of the black soldier fly (Texas; Guangzhou, China; and Wuhan, China) and their ability to reduce dry matter and associated nutrients in swine, dairy, and chicken manure. The Wuhan strain appeared to be more fit. Larvae from Wuhan needed 17.7–29.9% less time to reach the prepupal stage than those from Guangzhou or Texas, respectively. Larvae from Wuhan weighed 14.4–37.0% more than those from Guanghzhou or Texas, respectively. Larvae from the Wuhan strain reduced dry matter 46.0% (swine), 40.1% (dairy), and 48.4% (chicken) more than the Guangzhou strain and 6.9, 7.2, and 7.9% more than the Texas strain. This study demonstrates that phenotypic plasticity (e.g., development and waste conversion) varies across populations of black soldier flies and should be taken into account when selecting and establishing a population as a waste management agent in a given region of the world.
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Vol. 50 • No. 6