Temporal changes in the bacterial community of animal feces and their correlation with stable fly oviposition, larval development, and adult fitness


2015-05-13, 2014-11-10

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Stable flies are blood-feeding insects with a great negative impact on animals world wide. Larvae develop primarily in animal manure and bacteria are essential for larval development; however, the principle of this dependence is not understood. We hypothesized that as the microbial community of animal manure changes over time, it plays an important role in stable fly fitness. Two-choice bioassays were conducted using 2 week old horse manure (control) and aging horse manure (fresh to 5 week old) to evaluate the effect of manure age on stable fly oviposition. Our data showed that fresh feces did not stimulate oviposition and that the attractiveness increased as manure aged but started to decline after 3 weeks. Bioassays assessing the effect of manure age at the time of oviposition on larval development demonstrated that 1–3 week old manure supported larval development significantly better than fresh, 4, and 5 week old manure. In addition, adult fitness (body size) was significantly higher in flies from 1 and 2 week old manure comparing to that of all other treatments. Analysis of the bacterial community of aging horse manure by 454-pyrosequencing of 16S rDNA revealed a great reduction in bacterial diversity and richness from fresh to 1–5 week old manure and a major shift from strict anaerobes in fresh manure to facultative anaerobes and strict aerobes in aged manure. Overall, the microbial community of 2 and 3 week old horse manure with its dominant bacterial taxa Rhizobium, Devosia, and Brevundimonas stimulated stable fly oviposition the most and provided a suitable habitat for larval development. These bacteria represent the candidates for studies focused on better understanding of stable fly – microbial interactions.



Stable fly, Oviposition, Horse feces, Bacteria, Diversity