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Influence of Plant Extracts on the Life History and Population Development of House Fly, Musca domestica L. (Diptera: Muscidae).

Byline: Sohail Ahmed, Humaira Malik, Muhammad Asam Riaz and Masood Akthar

Abstract.- The present studies examined the use of plant extracts viz., Niaz boo (Ocimum basilicum L.), Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides (J Ellis), Sanatha (Dodonaea viscosa Jacq.) and Lantana (Lantana camara (Linn.) as oviposition attractant and larval growth promoter/inhibitor on the house fly (Musca domestica L.). The plant chemicals in different final concentrations (25 and 50%) were mixed in a larval media prepared by mixing wheat bran, dried milk and brewer's yeast.

D. viscosa acted as strong attractant for house fly with minimum larval duration (5.25c and 3.5e days), maximum larval (83.11b and 77.78b %) and pupal (73.22c and 71.11e %) survival, female sex ratio, intrinsic rate of increase (0.31 and 0.26), maximum biotic potential (0.67 and 0.77) and fecundity (259 and 242.4 eggs female-1) in 25 and 50% concentrations, respectively. L. camara was a strong repellent for oviposition and showed a significant larvicidal activity, too. Gardenia showed maximum development time (11.20 days), less intrinsic rate of increase (0.213) and male sex ratio. O. basilicum was repellent for oviposition (92.56 eggs female-1) with minimum biotic potential (0.46), intrinsic rate of increase (0.19), less larval and pupal survival (55.56f and 54.00e %) at 50% concentration. The reasons for these differences and their role in the development of the house fly are discussed.

Keywords: Plant extracts, house fly, Ocimum basilicum, Gardenia jasminoides, Dodonaea viscosa, Lantana camara.


House Fly, Musca domestica L. is an important insect pest of household and dairy farming (Greening, 1995). The control of this injurious pest has been dependent upon the insecticides but development of the insecticides resistance in house flies restricts this control strategy. The house fly not only resisted insecticides which were used as spray, but also the insecticides mixed in the baits (Chapman and Morgan, 1992; Kim et al., 1997). In order to search out alternate measures against this insect, biocontrol agents like parasitic wasps Pteromalids gave satisfactory results in the control of house fly in the poultry shed (Crespo et al., 1998), however, these have not proved successful in other situations.

Plants chemicals have also been used in place of insecticide as killing agent for M. domestica (Naqvi and Tabassum, 1992; Naqvi et al., 1993). Hydrated colocynithin from alcoholic extracts of Citrullus colocynthis was toxic to the adult house fly (El-Naggar et al., 1989). Lectin from Ricinus communis and pellitorine, a petroleum ether extract, from Piper guineense male roots had insecticidal activity (Gbewonyo and Candy, 1992; Alvarez Montes de Oca et al., 1996). Latex (5%) of Calotropis procera @ 3 ul topically applied to 3rd stage larvae of M. domestica killed and partially digested the larvae in 3 hr (Morsy et al., 2001). The concentrations of 25 to 100% of Trigonella foenum- graecum completely killed 3rd stage of larvae of M. domestica. 5%, 2% and 1% caused mortality of 44.4, 33.3 and 22.2%, respectively. Fecundity of emerged adults was 20%, 0% and 28.6% (Abdel- Halim and Morsy, 2006).

Application of sublethal doses of thyme oil to M. domestica decreased significantly longevity of both sexes. Larval vitality and pupal survival was also affected by treating females with thyme oil (Pavela, 2007). All these studies revealed toxicity based on treating adults or larvae directly with plant extract, however, these chemicals have not been tested in the bait formulation or in growth medium of M. domestica.

The proposed plants in the present studies for use against M. domestica include O. basilicum, G. jasminoides, D. viscosa and L. camara and these plants were chosen because of their therapeutic value (Li, 2006). The aqueous extracts of the plants were mixed in the larval media to determine egg laying, larval and pupal duration, larval and pupalsurvival, development time, biotic potential, sex ratio and intrinsic rate of increase, in order to determine stimulation or inhibition of life traits of the house fly.


Rearing of house fly

A large number of adults of M. domestica were collected from fields around University of Agriculture, Faisalabad campus and were brought in the laboratory. These flies were never exposed to the application of insecticides. The flies were bred for bioassay at room temperature in Toxicology Laboratory, Department of Agri. Entomology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, during months of April-September, 2007. The flies were maintained in a mesh cage containing granulated sugar and water soaked-cotton ball in Petri dishes, as adult food. Larval medium consisted of brewer's yeast, dry milk powder, wheat bran and water. A beaker of 500 ml was filled with this larval medium and was put in the cages with flies.

After 2-3 days, these beakers were removed from the cages, and beakers were covered at the open end with a nylon mesh held in a position by a rubber band. The larval medium was changed continually depending upon the number of larvae. When the pupae were formed, these beakers were kept in another cage for adult emergence.

Preparation of plant extracts

Fresh leaves of Niaz boo (O. basilicum L.), Gardenia (G. jasminoides J. Ellis), Sanatha (D. viscosa Jacq.) and Lantana (L. camara Linn.) were dried under shade and then ground into a powder. This powder was added into the water in a ratio of 1:2 (powder:water). The mixture was filtered through Whatman Filter No. 48. This filtrate formed 100% plant extract, which was used in subsequent experiments with dilution in water. The water extracts were supposed to contain polar compounds, which has capacity to penetrate insect cuticle easily.

Exposure of house flies to larval media with plant extracts

The larval medium containing different concentrations of a plant extract was kept in the rearing cages along with a control treatment having only the solvent / water for preparation of the plant extracts in larval medium.

Life history parameter and intrinsic rate of increase Larval and pupal duration, fecundity, development time, sex ratio, generation time, emergence percentage and number of females produced per female were studied. These parameters allowed the intrinsic rate of increase, the biotic potential and the net replacement rate to be calculated. Net replacement rate is the number of females produced female-1. To study the net replacement rate, the eggs from known number of females were placed and sexed to count the number of females. The intrinsic rate of increase (r) measures the rate at which a population is increasing per generation. It is calculated by the following equation (Lewontin, 1965): r = log e Ro/T

where Ro is net replacement rate, and T is mean generation time.

The formula for biotic potential is: Biotic potential = loge fecundity/development time.

Five mated pairs were collected from rearing cages, and released in a separate cage containing larval medium in plastic jars (300 ml) with different concentrations of each plant extract. The number of eggs laid by females of these pairs was counted daily in these media. Total number of eggs was divided by five to get fecundity per female. This was replicated thrice. For studying larval/pupal durations, larval/pupal survival, development time and generation time, 100 eggs were removed form stock culture and placed in larval media with different concentrations of plant extracts. The time between formation of 1st pupa to last one was averaged to get larval duration. The adult emergence was pupal duration and in this way, development time was calculated and subsequent egg laying by a female was the generation time.

All the experiments were carried out in three replications in Completely Randomized Design. Data were subjected to ANOVA to find out the difference among the concentrations of the plant extracts using DMR test at 5% level of probability.


Shortest larval duration was recorded in D. viscosa 25% (3.25 days) which was non- significantly different with O. basilicum 25% (3.30 days). A significant longest duration (8.25 days) was recorded in G. jasminoides 50% followed by 7.20 and 7.21 days in G. jasminoides 25% and O. basilicum 50%, respectively. Pupal duration in two different concentrations of each plant extract showed non significant difference (p = 0.05) between each other and also among all the extracts. A significant longest development time (11.20 days) was recorded in G. jasminoides 50%, followed by 9.70 days and 9.20 days in O. basilicum 50% and G. jasminoides 25%, respectively (Table I).

Two concentrations of L. camara (50 and 25%) were not suitable for the larvae to complete development. The larval survival in this case was2.66 and 15.89%, respectively. Among plant chemicals where larvae were able to complete their development, survival was least (55.56%) in O. basilicum followed by 62.11% in G. jasminoides each at 50% concentration; however, O. basilicum at 25% having 63.67% larval survival was statistically similar with G. jasminoides. Two concentrations of O. basilicum (50 and 25%) had non-significant difference of pupal survival between each other. Highest survival (77.78%) was recorded in D. viscosa 25%, which was significantly different from other treatments. Highest number of eggs (259.0) was deposited in D. viscosa 50% and least (92.06) in O. basilicum 50%. The control treatment had less number of eggs deposited (179.3) as compared to D. viscosa and G. jasminoides at tested concentrations (Table II).

M. domestica had maximum ratio of females in (1.14) D. viscosa 50% followed by 1.13 in control and 1.1 in 25% concentration of former extract. In all other concentrations of plant extracts, ratio of the males was high as compared to the females. A significant high biotic potential (0.77) was recorded in D. viscosa 25% and least (0.47) was observed in G. jasminoides at 50% concentration. Intrinsic rate of increase in D. viscosa 25% was non-significantly different from G. jasminoides 25%. Two concentrations of O. basilicum 50 and 25% had non- significant difference of biotic potential between each other. The non-significant high intrinsic rate of increase D. viscosa and G. jasminoides was followed by the control treatment (Table III).

Table I.- Larval and pupal duration and development time of M. domestica in different treatments.

Treatment###Duration (days)###Development

###Larval###Pupal###time (Days)

D. viscosa 50%###5.25c###3.30 N.S.###8.25d

D. viscosa 25%###3.25e###3.25###7.10e

G. jasminoides 50%###8.25a###3.25###11.20a

G. jasminoides 25%###7.20b###3.25###9.20c

O. basilicum 50%###7.15b###3.20###9.70b

O. basilicum 25%###3.30e###3.15###6.55f


Means sharing same letter are significantly different at p=0.05. N.S., non significant

Table II.- Comparison of larval and pupal survival and fecundity of M. domestica in different treatments.

Treatment###Survival %###Fecundity###


D. viscosa 50%###73.22c###71.11c###259.0a

D. viscosa 25%###83.11b###77.78b###242.4b

G. jasminoides 50%###62.11e###60.45d###209.4c

G. jasminoides 25%###70.22d###60.00c###237.4b

L. camara 50%###2.66h###ND###ND

L. camara 25%###15.98g###ND###ND

O. basilicum 50%###55.56f###54.00e###92.56f

O. basilicum 25%###63.67e###57.78e###103.7e


ND= not detected. Means sharing same letter are significantly different at p=0.05.

Table III.- Comparison of Sex ratio, biotic potential and intrinsic rate of increase in different treatments of plant extracts.

Treatments###Sex###Biotic###Intrinsic rate

###ratio###potential###of increase

D. viscosa 50%###1:1014###0.67c###0.263c

D. viscosa 25%###1:1.1###0.77a###0.310b

G. jasminoides 50%###1:3.1###0.47e###0.213d

G. jasminoides 25%###1.15:1###0.60d###0.306b

O. basilicum 50%###1.02:1###0.46b###0.199e

O. basilicum 25%###1.3:1###0.72b###0.181e


Means sharing same letter are significantly different at p=0.05.DISCUSSION

Plant leaves aqueous extracts used in larval media showed different values of larval duration at 25% and 50% concentrations. Minimum larval duration (3.25 and 3.30 days) was observed in D. viscosa and O. basilicum extracts at 25% concentration, respectively. Ascending order of the larval duration at 25% concentration was D. viscosa < O. basilicum < G. jasminoides. At 50% concentration minimum larval duration (5.25 days) was recorded in D. viscose. Ascending order of the larval duration at 50% concentration was D. viscosa < O. basilicum < G. jasminoides. As far as the larval survival at two concentrations of plant leaf extracts is concerned, L. camara leaf extract at 50% and 25% concentrations were not suitable for larvae to complete their development.

The larval survival in these cases was 2.66 and 15.89%, respectively. Larval survival at 50% and 25% concentrations in ascending order was L. camara 25% < L. camara 50% < O. basilicum 50% < G. jasminoides 50% < O. basilicum 25% < D. viscosa 50% < D. viscosa 25% < control. These results suggest that L. camara leaf extract acts as a strong repellent for the house fly, first they avoid oviposition and then due to strong toxic effect, larvae were killed after few hours. These results did not match with Ba-Angood and Al-Sunaidy (2003) who found that Lantana camara was least effective for oviposition by Callosobruchus chinensis on stored cowpea. There may be chances that Lantana leaf extract was more toxic than in the powder form. Pupal duration had non-significant difference among the plant extracts at their respective concentrations; however, significant difference among plants was found for pupal survival.

These results did not match with Abdel-Aziz and Omer (1995) who found that hexane extract of D. viscosa was the most effective and gave the highest larval mortality and reduction in pupation, fecundity and hatchability. The results of the development time showed significantly maximum development time of 11.20 days at 50% concentration of G. jasminoides leaf extract, and least (6.55 days) was in O. basilicum 25%. It has been noticed that small changes in development time could have much more greater effect on reproductive potential than small changes in fecundity (Lewontin, 1965). As far as biotic potential is concerned, D. viscosa 25% showed maximum biotic potential (0.77) followed by O. basilicum 25%. Minimum biotic potential was observed in O. basilicum 50% that was not significantly different from O. basilicum 25%.

These results did not match with Subashini et al. (2004) who investigated the significantly reduced the adult longevity (3 days) and adversely affected the reproductive potential in Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) by Dodonaea angustifolia L. Aqueous plant leaf extracts used in larval media showed maximum number of eggs laid by a single female in D. viscosa 50% followed by G. jasminoides 25%. As far as sex ratio is concerned, D. viscosa 50% showed maximum ratio of females 1.14 followed by 1.13 in control and 1.1 in D. viscosa 25%. In all other concentrations of plant chemicals, the ratio of males was high as compared to females. These results matched with situations where well fed mothers live longer and produce more females (Rotary and Gerling, 1973).

Aqueous plant leaf extracts used in larval media showed maximum intrinsic rate of increase in (0.31 and 0.30) D. viscosa 25% and G. jasminoides 25%, respectively, and least was observed in O. basilicum 25%. Results obtained during the project revealed that plant leaves extract of D. viscosa acts as a strong attractant for house fly with minimum larval duration, maximum larval, pupal survival, female sex ratio, intrinsic rate of increase, shorter development time, maximum biotic potential and fecundity. L. camara acted as a strong repellent for oviposition and showed a significant larvicidal activity. G. jasminoides proved attractant for oviposition with a maximum development time, intrinsic rate of increase, and male sex ratio. O. basilicum acts as a repellent for oviposition with minimum biotic potential, intrinsic rate of increase, larval duration and pupal survival. The effect of O. basilicum oil as topical application on M. domestica was different from situation shown in the present study (Pavela, 2008).

The effect of L. camara in a antibiosis mechanism from the present results cannot be proved by a study where this plant powder effected larval duration, pupation percent, pupal weight, pupal duration, adult emergence percent, sex ratio, adult longevity, and fecundity were determined and induced deformities in all stages of M. domestica (Elkattan et al., 2011), however, L. camara did not allow the larvae to grow in the present study.

Based on these results it can be stated that decoction of leaves of D. viscosa, L. camara and O. basilicum proved effective for the management of flies, either as spray or in bait systems.


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Sohail Ahmed, * Humaira Malik, Muhammad Asam Riaz1 and Masood Akthar, Department of Agric. Entomology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, 38040., 2Department of Parasitology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, 38040.
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Author:Ahmed, Sohail; Malik, Humaira; Riaz, Muhammad Asam; Akthar, Masood
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Apr 30, 2013
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