Term of Award

Fall 2006

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Biology

Committee Chair

William S. Irby

Committee Member 1

Lance A. Durden

Committee Member 2

Quentin Q. Fang

Abstract

Flies in the family Corethrellidae (Diptera) are known to be attracted to the mating calls of tree frogs. Field studies using the calls of nine species of frogs native to the SE USA confirmed prior findings that the call of the barking tree frog, Hyla gratiosa LeConte, is the most attractive call to sympatric Corethrella (Coquillett) from Georgia. A synthetic barking tree frog call was created using computer software. It was found that the synthetic call was more attractive than the real call of the barking tree frog. A recent study in Panama using the tungara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus, found that Corethrella spp. preferred a complex call to a simple call. Using synthetic components of the barking tree frog call, a laboratory colony of Nearctic Corethrella appendiculata was tested in a Y-maze. The data confirmed that C. appendiculata was more attracted to a frequency-rich sound and not to a sound that resembles their wing-beat frequency. For the first time, the hosts of corethrellids were identified to species based on blood meal analysis. Using flies collected over six years at two locations in the SE USA, the host species data were compared to potential host abundance. Host feeding patterns did not reflect host attraction behaviors. Overall, phonotactic behaviors were observed in Corethrella spp.; however, the role of these behaviors in host feeding behavior remains unclear.

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