Term of Award

Summer 1994

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Biology

Committee Chair

Frank E. French

Committee Member 1

Jonathan Copeland

Committee Member 2

Daniel V. Hagan

Committee Member 3

William S. Irby


Abstract 1:

To determine the exit points of Spiroplasma from tabanids, 45 naturally infected Tabanus gladiator and 6 T. sulcifrons were restrained and fed 10% sucrose. The flies were allowed to feed for 24 hours and the resulting oral and anal specks were cultured in MID broth. Spiroplasmas were isolated from 21 of 51 oral specks but none of 23 anal specks deposited on plastic. In contrast, when anal specks were deposited in a sucrose solution, 9 of 28 anal specks in sucrose yielded spiroplasma cultures. Air-dried spiroplasma cultures in 5% sucrose survived for up to 30 days in the laboratory. Tabanis lineola and T. longiusculus were offered a culture of Spiroplasma strain EC-1 on a stewed raisin or in 5% sucrose in the form of a hanging drop. After four days, the minced abdominal viscera of each specimen were incubated in MID broth with 25 of 32 tabanids yielding cultures of Spiroplasma.

Abstract 2:

Two Spiroplasma strains as well as a nonhelical mollicute, Entomoplasma eilychniae, were succesfully transferred to tabanids, Chrysops and Hybomitra, by an infected firefly, Ellychnia corrusca, demonstrating a possible natural spiroplasma infection cycle from firefly beetles to tabanid flies. One firefly and two tabanids were placed in a chamber with a common feeding station. After cohabitation from 4 to 10 days the viscera of the tabanids and the fireflies were cultured for mollicutes.

Firefly larvae (Photuris), possible natural reservoirs for spiroplasmas of tabanids, were offered beetle pupae injected with a Spiroplasma strain EC-1 or HYOS-1. The viscera of each firefly larvae were cultured 4 to 10 days after feeding on an injected pupa to determine if transfer of injected spiroplasmas had occurred. No transfer of EC-1 or HYOS-1 was detected, but natural infections of spiroplasmas were cultured from the Photuris spp. larvae and reared adults.


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