Section 15
Chapter 14,202

Studies of the sensory functions of the antennae of M. domestica in connection with the problem of baits

Wiesmann, R.

Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft 33(3): 121-154


ISSN/ISBN: 0036-7575
Accession: 014201594

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The following is based mainly on the author's summary. The sensory functions of the antennae of Musca domestica L. were studied in relation to possible control by means of baits. The morphology and histology of the antennae are described in detail and it is pointed out that there are fewer olfactory receptors on the flagellum of M. domestica than on those of some other closely related flies. Comparison of the responses to various stimuli of normal house-flies and those with their antennae removed showed that the antennae bear organs that are sensitive to odour, humidity, heat, shock and disturbances of the air. There are no contact chemoreceptors on the antennae. Both free-flying normal flies and those with the antennae removed found sources of sugar with equal ease, and pairing was normal. There was little movement of the antennae. The attractiveness of food on which other flies were feeding was shown to be the result of visual perception . In cage tests, the flies responded to a variety of odours originating at a distance not greater than 5-7 cm. It was demonstrated with a simple olfactometer that the flies react not only to food substances, but also to others, including bromoform, chloroform, benzene, toluene, cyclohexanol, xylene, parathion, diazinon and Isolan. In a room containing an odourless and an odoriferous bait, more flies were attracted to the latter than to the former, but when each bait was placed in a room alone, there was no significant difference in their attractiveness. The author concludes that the sense of smell in M. domestica is not very highly developed, a fact that is correlated with its ecology and bionomics, since the species finds its food and breeding places in relatively confined areas such as houses or animal quarters. It seems that odoriferous baits, alone, cannot be expected to give effective control, though they may be of use as an auxiliary measure.