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Determination of physiological state in insects is useful in furthering the understanding of how insect behavior changes with age. Central to this determination is the identification of characters that allow assessment of physiological age. While non-destructive measures produce the most desired outcomes, internal markers may be more diagnostic and reliable. In this study, key morphological characters during previtellogenesis through vitellogenesis and ovulation were assessed as markers to determine physiological states of the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel) (Diptera: Tephritidae). Ovary length and width, ovarian index (length × width), and egg load of laboratory-reared B. dorsalis females recorded daily from eclosion up to 80 days old suggested significant differences in the ovarian index and egg load between females from each oogenesis stage. Parity status determined by the presence of follicular relics was found to provide high-accuracy classifications for B. dorsalis females. The presence of follicular relics with distinct morphological features provides a reliable identification tool to determine the physiological state of wild female oriental fruit fly. The potential applications of this technique to identify the physiological age of female fruit flies to study behavioral attributes in their natural habitat, and also the potential applications in relation to field control, are discussed.
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