Flight capacity is important for invasive pests during entry, establishment and spreading. Both Bactroceradorsalis Hendel and Bactroceracorrecta Bezzi are invasive fruit flies but their flight capacities differ. Here, a tethered flight mill test demonstrated that B. dorsalis exhibits a greater flight capacity than B. correcta. RNA-Seq was used to determine the transcriptomic differences associated with the flight capacity of two Bactrocera species. Transcriptome data showed that 6392 unigenes were differentially expressed between the two species in the larval stage, whereas in the adult stage, 4104 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified in females, and 3445 DEGs were observed in males. The flight capacity appeared to be correlated with changes in the transcriptional levels of genes involved in wing formation, flight muscle structure, energy metabolism, and hormonal control. Using RNA interference (RNAi) to verify the function of one DEG, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), we confirmed the role of this gene in regulating wing development, and thereby flight capacity, in both species. This work reveals the flight mechanism of fruit flies and provides insight into fundamental transcriptomics for further studies on the flight performance of insects.
Keywords: Bactrocera correcta Bezzi; Bactrocera dorsalis Hendel; EGFR; RNA interference; energy metabolism; flight capacity; juvenile hormone; transcriptome.