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Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology

Larval exposure to azadirachtin affects fitness and oviposition site preference of Drosophila melanogaster

Radia Bezzar-Bendjazi, Samira Kilani-Morakchi, Nadia Aribi

Laboratory of Applied Animal Biology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Badji Mokhtar University of Annaba, 23000 Annaba, Algeria.


Azadirachtin, a biorational insecticide, is one of the prominent biopesticide commercialized today and represent an alternative to conventional insecticides. The current study examined the lethal and sublethal effects of azadirachtin on Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, 1830 (Diptera: Drosophilidae) as biological model. Various doses ranging from 0.1 to 2 μg were applied topically on early third instar larvae and the cumulative mortality of immature stage was determined. In second series of experiments, azadirachtin was applied at its LD25 (0.28 μg) and LD50 (0.67 μg) and evaluated on fitness (development duration, fecundity, adult survival) and oviposition site preference with and without choice. Results showed that azadirachtin increased significantly at the two tested doses the duration of larval and pupal development. Moreover, azadirachtin treatment reduced significantly adult's survival of both sex as compared to control. In addition, azadirachtin affected fecundity of flies by a significant reduction of the number of eggs laid. Finally results showed that females present clear preference for oviposition in control medium. Pre-imaginal exposure (L3) to azadirachtin increased aversion to this substance suggesting a memorability of the learned avoidance. The results provide some evidence that larval exposure to azadirachtin altered adult oviposition preference as well as major fitness traits of D. melanogaster. Theses finding may reinforce behavioural avoidance of azadirachtin and contribute as repellent strategies in integrated pest management programmes.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Drosophila melanogaster; Azadirachtin; Fitness; Egg-laying avoidance.

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