Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (3): 470-476, 2015 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2015.059

An optimized method for mass rearing the tiger-fly, Coenosia attenuata (Diptera: Muscidae)

Joana MARTINS1,2, Célia MATEUS1,3,*, Ana C. RAMOS1, Elisabete FIGUEIREDO2,3
1 Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária, Av. da República, Quinta do Marquês, 2784-505 Oeiras, Portugal; e-mails:;
2 Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal; e-mails:;
3 LEAF, ISA, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal

The tiger-fly Coenosia attenuata Stein (Diptera: Muscidae) is a predator that is currently thought to be a useful biological control agent in greenhouses, especially in the Mediterranean region. Here, we present a method for rearing this predator in the laboratory by feeding it on fungus gnats (fed on Pleurotus ostreatus fungus) and drosophilids (Diptera). Over the past two years, this method has been continuously used to successfully produce predators for bioecological studies in the laboratory. Rearing cages with one, five or 10 male-female pairs, either of laboratory or field origin, were compared using females that were either unmated and recently emerged, or mated and about 20 days old (post-emergence). We evaluated the following parameters: number of rearing cages in which adults emerged, number and sex ratio of emerged adults, period from the introduction of parental pairs into cages and the emergence of the first offspring adults, and the period over which emergence occurred in the cages. Based on our results and in order to minimize the space needed for the colony, cages should be stocked with ca. 10 parental pairs, either of field or laboratory origin, with at least some mated females about 20 days post emergence. We also found that the predator's rearing substrate in the cages is improved if coconut fibre is mixed with the soil. These findings will improve the efficiency of C. attenuata rearing, an important step if it is to be used as a biological control agent.

Keywords: Diptera, Muscidae, Coenosia, tiger-fly, mass rearing, biological control, predator, prey, Sciaridae, Bradysia

Received: August 8, 2014; Accepted: March 20, 2015; Revised: March 20, 2015; Prepublished online: May 15, 2015; Published: July 15, 2015Show citation

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MARTINS, J., MATEUS, C., RAMOS, A.C., & FIGUEIREDO, E. (2015). An optimized method for mass rearing the tiger-fly, Coenosia attenuata (Diptera: Muscidae). Eur. J. Entomol.112(3), 470-476. doi: 10.14411/eje.2015.059.
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