Feeding in the adult of Hermetia illucens (Diptera Stratiomyidae): reality or fiction?

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D. Lupi
S. Savoldelli
M.G. Leonardi
C. Jucker *
(*) Corresponding Author:
C. Jucker | costanza.jucker@unimi.it


Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera Stratiomyidae) is a promising species as alternative protein source for animal feed, able to convert a wide range of organic materials. The knowledge on larval biology, development, nutritional needs, and nutritional composition is rich, while few information is available on adult traits. The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of the adult nutrition on the survival, the longevity and the ovaries development of H. illucens. In detail, three food sources have been compared to starvation. Water, a sucrose solution and a protein solution were given to new emerged adults and data on longevity and ovary development were acquired. Trials were conducted on single specimen and on a cohort of adults. In all the trials, starved adults survived significantly shorter than all other thesis. When adults were maintained isolated, the survival was significantly influenced by the nourishment: longevity was longer when adults were fed with a sucrose solution, while the supply of a protein source provided a lifespan significantly higher than starvation but similar to water or to sucrose solution. In cages longevity was always shorter than in isolated adults for both males and females and the overall trend was similar to single individual trials with the exception of protein solution. Ovary development of females under different nourishment did not show differences. More studies are necessary to identify a correct nutrition considering the integration of different chemical compounds to obtain optimal adult performance in terms of longevity and reproduction.

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