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Host-trailing satellite flight behaviour is associated with greater investment in peripheral visual sensory system in miltogrammine flies

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Insect sensory systems are the subjects of different selective pressures that shape their morphology. In many species of the flesh fly subfamily Miltogramminae (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) that are kleptoparasitic on bees and wasps, females perch on objects close to the host nests and, once a returning host is detected, they follow it in flight at a fixed distance behind until reaching the nest. We hypothesized that such satellite (SAT) flight behaviour, which implies a finely coordinated trailing flight, is associated with an improved visual system, compared to species adopting other, non-satellite (NON-SAT) strategies. After looking at body size and common ancestry, we found that SAT species have a greater number of ommatidia and a greater eye surface area when compared to NON-SAT species. Ommatidium area is only affected by body size, suggesting that selection changes disproportionately (relative to body size variation) the number of ommatidia and as a consequence the eye area, instead of ommatidium size. SAT species also tend to have larger ocelli, but their role in host-finding was less clear. This suggests that SAT species may have a higher visual acuity by increasing ommatidia number, as well as better stability during flight and motion perception through larger ocelli. Interestingly, antennal length was significantly reduced in SAT species, and ommatidia number negatively correlated with antennal length. While this finding does not imply a selection pressure of improved antennal sensory system in species adopting NON-SAT strategies, it suggests an inverse resource (i.e. a single imaginal disc) allocation between eyes and antennae in this fly subfamily.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Polidori, C., Piwczynski, M., Ronchetti, F., Johnston, N. P., & Szpila, K. (2022). Host-trailing satellite flight behaviour is associated with greater investment in peripheral visual sensory system in miltogrammine flies. Scientific Reports, 12(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-022-06704-8

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85124776322

Volume


  • 12

Issue


  • 1

Abstract


  • Insect sensory systems are the subjects of different selective pressures that shape their morphology. In many species of the flesh fly subfamily Miltogramminae (Diptera: Sarcophagidae) that are kleptoparasitic on bees and wasps, females perch on objects close to the host nests and, once a returning host is detected, they follow it in flight at a fixed distance behind until reaching the nest. We hypothesized that such satellite (SAT) flight behaviour, which implies a finely coordinated trailing flight, is associated with an improved visual system, compared to species adopting other, non-satellite (NON-SAT) strategies. After looking at body size and common ancestry, we found that SAT species have a greater number of ommatidia and a greater eye surface area when compared to NON-SAT species. Ommatidium area is only affected by body size, suggesting that selection changes disproportionately (relative to body size variation) the number of ommatidia and as a consequence the eye area, instead of ommatidium size. SAT species also tend to have larger ocelli, but their role in host-finding was less clear. This suggests that SAT species may have a higher visual acuity by increasing ommatidia number, as well as better stability during flight and motion perception through larger ocelli. Interestingly, antennal length was significantly reduced in SAT species, and ommatidia number negatively correlated with antennal length. While this finding does not imply a selection pressure of improved antennal sensory system in species adopting NON-SAT strategies, it suggests an inverse resource (i.e. a single imaginal disc) allocation between eyes and antennae in this fly subfamily.

Publication Date


  • 2022

Citation


  • Polidori, C., Piwczynski, M., Ronchetti, F., Johnston, N. P., & Szpila, K. (2022). Host-trailing satellite flight behaviour is associated with greater investment in peripheral visual sensory system in miltogrammine flies. Scientific Reports, 12(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-022-06704-8

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85124776322

Volume


  • 12

Issue


  • 1