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Nasonia Activity

We will investigate the inheritance pattern of eye color in Nasonia.

Reference: Ward's Working with Nasonia


In your notes:

  1. Draw the Sarcophaga / Nasonia Life cycle diagram. Be prepared to discuss the life cycles.
  2. Describe how to distinguish between male ♂ and female ♀ Nasonia pupa (both lateral and abdominal views).
  3. Describe how to distinguish between adult male and female Nasonia.

Virgin Procedure

  1. You will be on either a black eye (BE) or scarlet eye (SE) team.
  2. For your eye color variant, you will need to isolate female and male Nasonia pupae.
  3. Get two culture tubes. Note the number on the tube! Record data in you journal.
  4. Break open a sarcophaga, separate the male and female Nasonia pupa. Each gender will get their own culture tube. If you make a mistake here the experiment will be ruined!
  5. Place a small cotton ball in the end of the culture tube.
  6. Set the tubes aside as instructed.

Mating Procedure

  1. Exchange your tube of males with a team of the other eye color. Example: You give your BE males to the SE team. They give their SE males to you.
  2. Combine the males and females into one tube.
  3. Directions for moving Nasonia adults: "Obtain the stock culture of Nasonia and tap the tube on the table so the Nasonia fall to the bottom. Remove the cotton plug from the stock and invert the empty culture tube over it. Nasonia will naturally crawl up from the stock culture tube into the empty culture tube. Make sure that the lips of the tubes are lined up so that the Nasonia do not escape."
  4. When the adult Nasonia are in one tube, gently place a sarcophaga in the tube.
  5. Stopper the culture tube with the cotton ball
  6. Set the tubes aside as instructed.

Eclosion Procedure

  1. When the Nasonia are ready they will chew out of the sarcophaga.
  2. Count the number of males and females and note their eye color.
  3. Set the tubes aside as instructed.