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The Infection of Musca Vetustissima (Diptera: Muscidae) By Heterotylenchus Sp. (Sphaerulariidae)

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For more content, see Nematology.

A laboratory colony of the nematode parasite Heterotylenchus sp. was established in the Australian bush fly, Musca vetustissima. The colony was used to study brief the free-living stage of the nematode in cow dung and the process of infection. Infected flies deposit sexually mature male, and immature female nematodes on dung pads in mock oviposition. Copulation occurs on the dung, and the female rapidly transforms into an infective form. The infective female nematode penetrates the cuticle of fly larvae while they are in the process of ecdysis. The behaviour of both fly larvae and infective nematodes under laboratory conditions is described. The parasite, under experimental conditions, lowers the survival rate of the pupae and sterilises the adult female fly. Infected male flies probably do not transmit the infection. Infective nematodes quickly die at —4° and 58°, and are immobilised below 18° but not between 18° and 54°. Fly larvae will not tolerate freezing, are inactive below 12° and also rapidly die at 58°.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia


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