Supplementary material from "Black soldier fly larvae feed by forming a fountain around food"

Published on 2019-01-18T16:47:39Z (GMT) by
The black soldier fly is a non-pest insect of interest to the sustainability community due to the high eating rates of its edible larvae. When found on carcases or piles of rotting fruit, this larva often outcompetes other species of scavengers for food. In this combined experimental and theoretical study, we elucidate the mechanism by which groups of black soldier fly larvae can eat so quickly. We use time-lapse videography and particle image velocimetry to investigate feeding by black soldier fly larvae. Individually, larvae eat in 5 min bursts, for 44% of the time, they are near food. This results in their forming roadblocks around the food, reducing the rate that food is consumed. To overcome these limitations, larvae push each other away from the food source, resulting in the formation of a fountain of larvae. Larvae crawl towards the food from below, feed and then are expelled on the top layer. This self-propagating flow pushes away potential roadblocks, thereby increasing eating rate. We present mathematical models for the rate of eating, incorporating flow rates measured from our experiments.

Cite this collection

Shishkov, Olga; Hu, Michael; Johnson, Christopher; Hu, David L. (2019): Supplementary material from "Black soldier fly larvae feed by forming a fountain around food". The Royal Society. Collection.