Drosophila suzukii (Matsumara) (Diptera: Drosophilidae), the spotted wing drosophila, is a global pest of soft fruits now rearable on a standard D. melanogaster (Meigen) diet containing the fly's own natural food: soft-skinned berries. The techniques tested here can save 40% of cultures from microbial contamination that develops after combining artificial food sources (e.g., standard drosophila media) with unsterilized host plant material (berries). A suitable ratio for mixing dietary ingredients for a vial or test-tube rearing system includes, by weight, 1 part berry tissue for oviposition, 1.5 parts dry diet media for carbohydrate, 7 parts clean water for moisture, and ∼5 grains (0.8 mg) of dry yeast for protein. One or two blackberry or blueberry fruits used by spotted wing drosophila as edible oviposition substrates doubled and tripled pupal and adult production in standard 68 mL culturing vials. To prevent mold from spoiling the diet, the exocarp of berries was sterilized in an 80 or 90% ethanol bath at room temperature for ∼5 min, followed by a thorough rinsing with deionized water to remove residual alcohol, which can be acutely toxic to D. suzukii, a highly ethanol-intolerant species. Sterilized fruit and a larger fly population in vials disrupted the growth of microbial biofilms capable of suffocating adults. Identical body size in reared adults and locally caught wild flies of D. suzukii substantiates nutritional similarity between the fruit-media-based diet and the fly's own natural food (i.e., whole berries). Triethylamine (50%), a common fly anesthetic, was acutely toxic to D. suzukii adults but not to D. melanogaster adults.
Blair J. Sampson, Trevor Mallette, Karla M. Addesso, Oscar E. Liburd, Lindsy E. Iglesias, Stephen J. Stringer, Chris T. Werle, Donna A. Shaw, Drew Larsen, John J. Adamczyk "Novel Aspects of Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) Biology and an Improved Method for Culturing this Invasive Species with a Modified D. melanogaster Diet," Florida Entomologist, 99(4), 774-780, (1 December 2016)