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Domestic filth flies in New Haven, Connecticut: A case study on the effects of urbanization and climate change by comparing fly populations after 78 years

Pinto, J., Magni, P.A., O’Brien, R.C. and Dadour, I.R. (2021) Domestic filth flies in New Haven, Connecticut: A case study on the effects of urbanization and climate change by comparing fly populations after 78 years. Insects, 12 (11). Article 972.

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Abstract

Changes in common and widespread insect populations such as the domestic filth fly in urban cities are useful and relevant bioindicators for overall changes in the insect biomass. The current study surveyed necrophagous flies by placing a weekly trap from June–September over a two-year period in the city of New Haven, Connecticut, to compare data on fly abundance and diversity with data collected 78 years earlier. Climate and land cover changes were also assessed in combination with the fly population for each period. The survey results suggest the domestic filth fly population is now less diverse with decreased species richness and changes in the relative abundance of species. In both surveys, 95–96% of the population was composed of only three species. The current survey data indicate the numerical dominance of Lucilia sericata has decreased, the abundance of several species, notably Lucilia coeruleiviridis, has increased, and Lucilia illustris is absent. Species that showed a significant interaction with temperature in the 1940s survey have now increased in abundance, with several of the trapped species continuing to show an interaction with temperature and rainfall. Analysis of the land cover and climate data characterizes the trap site as a region exposed to a prolonged period of industrialization and urbanization, with only 7% of the land cover remaining undeveloped and over 50% impervious, coupled with an increase in temperature and rainfall. This study serves as a model for changes in domestic filth fly populations and other insects in similarly highly urbanized established cities.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/62808
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