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The green bottle fly, Lucilia sericata, is a forensically important organism for the determination of post-mortem interval (PMI) of deceased individuals. Lucilia sericata plays an important role in the initiation and subsequent pattern of insect colonization, as well as species progression on decomposing organic matter since it is one of the primary colonizers. Adult female L. sericata are attracted to decaying organic material to fulfill a physiological need for a protein meal. Protein is required for completion of sexual development, vitellogenesis (egg production), and production of sex pheromones. Much is known regarding the life cycle of the species, however, the effects of diet quality and timing on ovary and egg development is not well understood. We hypothesize that the production of eggs, and thus ovary development in female Lucilia sericata, occurs four to five days after the initial consumption of a protein meal. Adult flies were separated into two groups: Group #1 included both males and females (1:1 ratio), and Group #2 included only females. Three females from Group #1 and Group #2 were removed at twelve hour intervals each day and preserved for dissection. Ovaries were staged using two methods. The first staged the organs using a more common 0-3 scale where 0=no egg development, and 3=full egg development. The second method staged the ovaries using length and width measurements to calculate the area. Data were averaged for each time point. Preliminary results indicate that ovaries begin to develop between three to five days post-ecclosion with the immediate introduction of a protein source, while full ovarian development occurred in the subsequent 24-36 hours.

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Independent Research

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Karolyn M. Hansen

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Ovary Staging Analysis of the Female Adult Blow Fly, Lucilia sericata