SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.46 número3Freshwater prawns of the genus Macrobrachium (Decapoda: Palaemonidae) from the San Pedro-Mezquital River, Nayarit, MexicoEvaluation of different maze systems for the determination of feed attractability for longarm river prawn Macrobrachium tenellum índice de autoresíndice de materiabúsqueda de artículos
Home Pagelista alfabética de revistas  

Servicios Personalizados




Links relacionados

  • En proceso de indezaciónCitado por Google
  • No hay articulos similaresSimilares en SciELO
  • En proceso de indezaciónSimilares en Google


Latin american journal of aquatic research

versión On-line ISSN 0718-560X

Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res. vol.46 no.3 Valparaíso jul. 2018 

Short Communication

Fly larvae (Musca domestica) as a protein alternative in the feeding of Macrobrachium tenellum

Jesús Josafat De León-Ramírez1 

J. Fernando García-Trejo1 

Carlos F. Sosa-Ferreyra2 

Sergio A. Martínez-Ramos1 

Bryan S. Bottini-Cedeño1 

1Laboratorio de Bioingeniería, División de Estudios de Posgrado, Facultad de Ingeniería Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Querétaro, México

2Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Querétaro, México


The present study evaluates the potential of the house fly larvae (Musca domestica) as a protein alternative in the feeding of prawns (Macrobrachium tenellum). Three feeds were used to evaluate the following response variables: growth rate, survival rate, feed conversion ratio and protein efficiency ratio. The first feed (T1) was a meal obtained after process fly larvae produced in a controlled environment, the second one (T2) was an experimental formulated feed based on the meal obtained, and the third one (T3) was a commercial feed. The feeds were supplied to 216 individuals ofM. tenellum, with an initial weight of 0.897 ± 0.007 g for a 60 days period. After 30 days, the experiment results showed that T2 presented significant differences in promoting the growth and survival of M. tenellum over the other treatments. However, at the conclusion of the study, an improvement was observed for T3 culminating with no significant differences for T2, which suggests that the domestic fly larvae possess nutritional characteristics that make viable the incorporation as a protein source in the formulation of a feed for Macrobrachium tellenum.

Keywords: Macrobrachium tellenum; balanced feed; growth; prawns; aquaculture

In aquaculture, feed represents a significant factor in production yields (Tacon & Forster, 2003; FAO, 2012). Therefore, it is one of the points on which a considerable amount of research and development has been focused, generating balanced feeds capable of covering the nutritional requirements of the species used within this productive sector (Drew et al., 2007; Canseco et al., 2015). In this case, the formulations developed for aquaculture species have as the main component the protein ingredients, representing between 20-55% of the formula (Glencross et al., 2007; Civera et al., 2010). The protein ingredients supplied are fishmeal and soymeal (FAO, 2014). However, these ingredients present drawbacks in their use, highlighting the availability variation and the increase in their prices (IMF, 2010; FAO, 2014).

During the last decade, the potential of using some insect species as a protein alternative in feed for aquaculture organisms has been studied (Rumpold & Schlüter, 2013; Sánchez-Muros et al., 2013; Makkar et al., 2014). One of the insects that showed great potential is the house fly larvae (Musca domestica), containing between 32-60% of the protein in a dry base (Zuidhof et al., 2003; Villamil-Echeverry, 2005; Adesina et al., 2011). Fly larvae meal incorporation in aquaculture feeding studies, reported that an inclusion of 25, 30 and 60% larvae meal, in tilapia, catfish and shrimp diets, respectively, had a statistically similar grow to the use of fish meal (Ogunji et al., 2008a, 2008b; Adewolu et al., 2010; Cao et al., 2012; Ossey et al, 2012).

Individuals of the Macrobrachium genus are within the interest of aquaculture production, whice in their natural environment they consume insects, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, plankton, plant matter, and organic detritus. Throughout their life cycle, they show the presence of 25 to 50% protein (García-Ulloa et al., 2008; Espinosa-Chaurand et al., 2011, 2012). Based on this, the present work aims to evaluate the fly larvae feed based on a protein source for Macrobrachium tenellum juveniles.

Adult houseflies were captured and introduced into an isolated unit with temperature, light and humidity control, to generate a favorable environment for their reproduction. Flies were fed with wheat bran, which served as a place for ovulation. The collection of eggs was carried out during 60 days. Incubated for five days until the desired larvae were obtained. Then, separated from the substrate for later sacrifice, consisting of 24 h cooling at −10°C. They were introduced to an electricdehydrator at 65°C for 24 h, and finally, ground (Pieterse & Pretorius, 2013) to obtain a meal, from which samples were taken for nutrient evaluation through proximate analysis. Subsequently, the treatments to be evaluated were established and the nutritional composition of each feed (Table 1); (T1) fly larvae meal, (T2) feed with fly larvae meal as a substitute of the fish meal and (T3) commercial feed.

Table 1 The feeds proximate analyses. 

Composition (%) T1
Larvae meal
Formulated feed
Commercial feed
Protein 34.72 35.29 35
Lipid 7.85 8.65 9
Carbohydrate 32.36 29.75 31
Fiber 14.53 14.27 13
Ash 10.54 12.04 12

An experimental-design of random blocks was used, with three treatments and three replicates, with an experimental unit consisting of 24 individuals. A total of 216 juveniles of M. tellenum were observed during a 60 days period with an initial weight of 0.897 ± 0.007 g.

The organisms were distributed in nine ponds at a density of 12 ind m-2 (Vega-Villasante et al., 2011; Espinosa-Chaurand et al., 2012).

Constant aeration and 50% of water refills were performed daily (Luna et al., 2007; García-Ulloa et al., 2008) to maintain the water quality. Dissolved oxygen and temperature factors were monitored using a Hach HQ40d® equipment and the nitrogen compounds determined by the Hach DR6000® spectrophotometer by the 8039 method for nitrates, 8057 for nitrites, and 8038 for the ammonium.

The feeding treatments were given twice a day (7:00 AM and 6:00 PM) at a total rate of 6% of the biomass present in each of the ponds (García-Ulloa et al., 2008; Espinosa-Chaurand et al., 2012). Survival rate (SR), growth rate (GR), feed conversion ratio (FCR), and protein efficiency ratio (PER) was the response variables used to evaluate the feeds supplied. To determine the effect of the treatments on the analyzed variables, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey's test was performed, both with 95% confidence.

During the 60 days of the experiment, the physical and chemical characteristics of the water were kept within the tolerance ranges reported for the cultivation of individuals of the genus Macrobrachium (Table 2). During the first 30 days of the experimental period (Fig. 1), the growth rate showed significant differences between treatments (P < 0.05); at this moment the results favor the feed generated based on fly larvae meal (T2). Individuals fed with treatments T2 and T3, in the second part of the evaluation (day 31 to 60), contributed more to the growth of Macrobrachium tenellum. Transcending a significantly higher weight gain (P < 0.05) compared to T1, which did not change its trend during the experimental period (Fig. 2).

Table 2 Registered values of culture water physical and chemical parameters. 

Variable Registered values Reported values
1st block 2nd block 3rd block
Temperature (°C) 26.4 ± 3.6 25.8 ± 3.2 25.3 ± 3.5 22 – 32
Dissolved oxygen (mg L-1) 5.54 ± 1.12 5.74 ± 1.26 6.03 ± 1.09 4 – 7
Nitrate (mg L-1) 4.8 5.5 6.3 < 10
Nitrite (mg L-1) 0.288 0.319 0.312 < 2
Ammonium (mg L-1) 0.27 0.35 0.31 < 0.5

Figure 1 Partial weight (g) of Macrobrachium tenellum juveniles in the first experimental period (P < 0.05). 

Figure 2 Total weight (g) of the prawn Macrobrachium tenellum after 60 days of the experimental culture (P < 0.05). 

The summary of the response variables evaluated for each of the treatments after 60 days of the experimental culture is shown (Table 3).

Table 3 Biological indices in M. tenellum juveniles after being fed during 60 days with the experimental feed. Growth rate (GR), survival rate (SR), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and protein efficiency ratio (PE). Values with the same superscripts do not present significant differences. 

Response variable T1
Larvae meal
Formulated feed
Commercial feed
Start (g) 0.904 ± 0.007 0.897 ± 0.004 0.891 ± 0.005
Finish (g) 3.058 ± 0.022 3.598 ± 0.019 3.714 ± 0.016
GR (g) 2.154 ± 0.034b 2.701 ± 0.01a 2.822 ± 0.008a
SR (%) 66.67b 70.83ab 76.39a
FCF 3.01 2.78 2.61
PE 0.949 1.027 1.091

During this work, water quality remained within limits established for the cultivation of the Macrobrachium genus (Ponce-Palafox et al., 2002; Valverde-Moya, 2006); therefore, it is inferred that the water in the ponds was not a limiting factor in the growth of individuals present for each treatment. Treatments, in the first experimental period (day 1 to 30) had on the average a contribution inferior to 45% of the total offered to the final biomass. Which could be related to the observation of a greater molt frequency; since to carry out the molting process the organism could have focused part of the nutrients contributed, thus subtracting the increase in the rate of growth.

The organisms fed with the evaluated treatments showed significant differences in GR and SR, these differences showed to T2 and T3 with the significant contributions on M. tenellum growth. However, after the review of the variable FCR, T3 was found as the adequate feed, since its value of 2.61 is located 6.11% smaller than T2. This difference suggests a discrepancy in the assimilation of the nutrients presented in the feed, which could be due to the ingredients quality used and the processing of the formulated feed (T2).

The incorporation of house fly larvae meal in the feeding of M. tenellum as a source of protein is feasible; however, it presents certain limitations such as the production cost and a decrease in growth in late culture phase.


We thank the Bioengineering Department of the Amazcala Campus from the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro and CONACYT for the support provided during this research.


Adesina, M.A., O.O. Adejinmi, A.J. Omole, J.A. Fayenuwo & O. Osunkeye. 2011. Performance of broilers’ finishers fed graded levels of cassava peelmaggot meal-based diet mixtures. J. Agr. Forest. Soc. Sci., 9(1): 226-231. [ Links ]

Adewolu, M.A., N.B. Ikenweiwe & S.M. Mulero. 2010. Evaluation of an animal protein mixture as a replacement for fishmeal in practical diets for fingerlings of Clarias gariepinus (Burchell, 1822). Israel J. Aquacult., 62(4): 237-244. [ Links ]

Canseco, L.E.F., J.L.C. Lemini, A.D.F. Suárez, R. Rodríguez, H.R.L. Flores, A.C. Galavíz & S.D. Alonso. 2015. Desarrollo de alimentos formulados para especies acuícolas. Rev. Mex. Agroecosist., 2(1): 40 pp. [ Links ]

Cao, J.M., J. Yan, Y.H. Huang, G.X. Wang, R.B. Zhang, X.Y. Chen & T.T. Zhou. 2012. Effects of replacement of fishmeal with housefly maggot meal on growth performance, antioxidant and non-specific immune indexes of juvenile Litopenaeus vannamei. J. Fish. China, 36: 529-537. [ Links ]

Civera, R., A. Galicia, H. Nolasco, E. Goytortúa, L.E. Cruz, D. Ricque & A. Álvarez. 2010. Uso del cártamo (Carthamus tinctorius) como ingrediente en alimentos para juveniles del camarón Litopenaeus vannamei. In: L.E. Cruz-Suárez (ed.). Avances en Nutrición Acuícola. X. Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Nuevo León, pp. 393-466. [ Links ]

Drew, M.D., T.L. Borgeson & D.L. Thiessen. 2007. A review of processing of feed ingredients to enhance diet digestibility in fínfish. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 138(2): 118-136. [ Links ]

Espinosa-Chaurand, L.D., M.A. Vargas-Ceballos, M. Guzmán-Arroyo, H. Nolasco-Soria, O. Carrillo-Farnés, O. Chong-Carrillo & F. Vega-Villasante. 2011. Biología y cultivo de Macrobrachium tenellum: estado del arte. Hidrobiológica, 21(2): 98-117. [ Links ]

Espinosa-Chaurand, L., C. Flores-Zepeda, H. Nolasco-Soria, O. Carrillo-Fames & F. Vega-Villasante. 2012. Effect of dietary protein level on the development of juveniles of Macrobrachium tenellum (Smith, 1871). Rev. MVZ Córdoba, 17(3): 3140-3146. [ Links ]

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 2012. El estado mundial de la pesca y la acuicultura. FAO Roma, 250 pp. [ Links ]

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 2014. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture, opportunities, and challenges. FAO, Rome, 223 pp. [ Links ]

García-Ulloa, M., L.A. López-Aceves, J.T. Ponce- Palafox, H. Rodríguez-González & J.L. Arredondo- Figueroa. 2008. Growth of fresh-water prawn Macrobrachium tenellum (Smith, 1871) juveniles fed isoproteic diets substituting fish meal by soya bean meal. Braz. Arch. Biol. Technol., 51(1): 57-65. [ Links ]

Glencross, B.D., M. Booth & G.L. Allan. 2007. A feed is only as good as its ingredients - a review of ingredient evaluation strategies for aquaculture feeds. Aquacult. Nutr., 13(1): 17-34. [ Links ]

International Monetary Fund (IMF). 2010. International Monetary Fund Primary Commodity Prices. []. Reviewed: 10 December 2017. [ Links ]

Luna, M., C. Graziani, E. Villarroel, M. Lemus, C. Lodeiros & G. Salazar. 2007. Evaluación de tres dietas con diferente contenido proteico en el cultivo de postlarvas del langostino de río Macrobrachium rosenbergii. Zootec. Trop., 25(2): 111-121. [ Links ]

Makkar, H.P., G. Tran, V. Heuzé & P. Ankers. 2014. State of the art on use of insects as animal feed. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 197: 1-33. [ Links ]

Ogunji, J., R.U.A.S. Toor, C. Schulz & W. Kloas. 2008a. Growth performance, nutrient utilization of Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus fed housefly maggot meal (magmeal) diets. Turk. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 8(1): 141-147. [ Links ]

Ogunji, J.O., W. Kloas, M. Wirth, C. Schulz & B. Rennert. 2008b. Housefly maggot meal (magmeal) as a protein source for Oreochromis niloticus (Linn.). Asian Fish. Sci., 21(3): 319-331. [ Links ]

Ossey, Y.B., A.R. Koumi, K.M. Koffi, B.C. Atse & L.P. Kouame. 2012. Use of soybean, bovine brain, and maggot as sources of dietary protein in larval Heterobranchus longifilis (Valenciennes, 1840). J. Anim. Plant Sci., 15: 2099-2108. [ Links ]

Pieterse, E. & Q. Pretorius. 2014. Nutritional evaluation of dried larvae and pupae meal of the housefly (Musca domestica) using chemical and broiler based biological assays. Anim. Prod. Sci., 54(3): 347-355. [ Links ]

Ponce-Palafox, J.T., F.C. Arana-Magallón, H. Cabanillas-Beltrán & H. Esparza-Leal. 2002. Bases biológicas y técnicas para el cultivo de los camarones de agua dulce nativos del Pacífico americano Macrobrachium tenellum (Smith, 1871) y M. americanum (Bate, 1968). In: I. de Blas (ed.). I Congreso Iberoamericano Virtual de Acuicultura, CIVA 2002, pp. 534-546. [ Links ]

Rumpold, B.A. & O.K. Schlüter. 2013. Potential and challenges of insects as an innovative source for food and feed production. Innov. Food Sci. Emerg. Technol., 17: 1-11. [ Links ]

Sánchez-Muros, M.J., F.G. Barroso & F. Manzano-Agugliaro. 2013. Insect meal as a renewable source of food for animal feeding: a review. J. Clean. Prod., 65: 16-27. [ Links ]

Tacon, A.G. & I.P. Forster. 2003. Aquafeeds and the environment: policy implications. Aquaculture, 226(1): 181-189. [ Links ]

Valverde-Montoya, J. 2006. Manual para el cultivo del langostino autóctono Macrobrachium carcinus en las barras de colorado, parismina y tortuguero en la provincia de Limón, Costa Rica. Proyecto COBODES, 29 pp. [ Links ]

Vega-Villasante, F., E.A. Martínez-López, M.C. Cortés-Lara, L.D. Espinosa-Chaurand & H. Nolasco-Soria. 2011. Growth and survival of Macrobrachium tenellum in experimental culture summer and autumn in the Tropical Mexican Pacific coast. Trop. Subtrop. Agroecosyst., 14: 581-588. [ Links ]

Villamil-Echeverry, L. 2005. Eficiencia en la producción de biomasa de mosca doméstica (Musca domestica L.) y su utilización como fuente de proteína. Invest. Unisarc, 3: 1-6. [ Links ]

Zuidhof, M.J., C.L. Molnar, F.M. Morley, T.L. Wray, F.E. Robinson, B.A. Khan & L.A. Goonewardene. 2003. Nutritive value of house fly (Musca domestica) larvae as a feed supplement for turkey poults. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 105(1): 225-230. [ Links ]

Received: March 03, 2017; Accepted: January 22, 2018

Corresponding author: Josafat De León-Ramírez (

Creative Commons License This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.