Experiments were conducted to develop an agar-based medium for rearing immature horn flies, Hematobia irritans (L.). Larval survival was determined on sterilized manure inoculated with pure and mixed cultures of Acinetobacter sp., Bacillus pumilus Meyer & Gottheil, Comamonas acidovorans den Dooren de Jong, Pseudomonas mendocina Palleroni, Flavobacterium sp. and Empedobacter breve (Holmes & Owen). Rearing larvae on mixed cultures enhanced pupal weight but not survival. Horn fly larvae failed to survive when reared on standard bacteriological media inoculated with pure and mixed cultures of Acinetobacter sp., P. mendocina, and C. acidovorans. Larvae completed development on a minimal medium supplemented with alfalfa, egg proteins, and vitamins. Medium with low alfalfa content (30 g alfalfa/500 ml minimal medium) had enhanced survival when supplemented with egg yolk protein and vitamins. Medium with high alfalfa content (130 g alfalfa/500 ml minimal medium) had enhanced survival when supplemented with whole egg protein and vitamins. Survival was also favored when media were inoculated with pure cultures of Acinetobacter or Acinetobacter mixed with either Pseudomonas or Comamonas. Individual plates could support larvae developing from up to 40 eggs, and survival was least variable when plates were inoculated with greater numbers of eggs. This rearing system shows promise as a means for conducting standardized bioassays on a meridic diet.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1