Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 2011.


Stable flies, Stomoxys calcitrans L. (Diptera: Muscidae), are economically important biting flies that have caused billions of dollars in losses in the livestock industry. Field monitoring studies have indicated that olfaction plays an important role in host location. To further our understanding of stable fly olfaction, we examined the antennal morphology of adults using scanning electron microscopy techniques. Four major types of sensillum were found and classified as: (a) basiconic sensilla; (b) trichoid sensilla with three subtypes; (c) clavate sensilla, and (d) coeloconic sensilla. No significant differences between male and female flies in abundances (total numbers) of these sensillum types were observed, except for medium-sized trichoid sensilla. The distinctive pore structures found on the surface of basiconic and clavate sensilla suggest their olfactory functions. No wall pores were found in trichoid and coeloconic sensilla, which suggests that these two types of sensillum may function as mechano-receptors. Details of the distributions of different sensillum types located on the funicle of the fly antenna were also recorded. Electroantennogram results indicated significant antennal responses to host-associated compounds. The importance of stable fly olfaction relative to host and host environment seeking is discussed. This research provides valuable new information that will enhance future developments in integrated stable fly management.

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