Villazana, J. and A. Alyokhin. 2019. Development of black soldier fly larvae (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) on seafood wastes. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed 5: 313-319.

The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.) (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) is well suited for remediating biological waste. Larvae of this species are nutrient rich, grow rapidly, and convert organic wastes while suppressing pathogens and pests. Therefore, they could be used in waste management systems and as feed for livestock and in aquaculture. The goal of this study was to test suitability of several seafood wastes from Maine processing facilities for H. illucens development in order to find alternative venues for their utilization. The following substrates were tested under laboratory conditions: dry sea cucumber, wet sea cucumber, crab meal, finfish, dry quahog, wet quahog, and sea urchin (“wet” and “dry” refer to the original condition of the wastes while their moisture levels were similar during the experiment). H. illucens eggs were placed on wax paper above each substrate, and larval growth and survival to pupation were measured. Based on the numbers and weights of surviving larvae, substrates potentially suitable for H. illucens rearing included finfish trimmings, wet sea cucumber, dry quahog, and sea urchin. Crab meal produced large larvae (0.091±0.021 g [mean ± SE], compared to experiment-wide mean of 0.064±0.007 g) in a relatively short period of time. However, larval mortality was very high, with only 4.7±1.17 larvae surviving to prepupae, compared to experiment-wide mean of 9.78±0.63 larvae. There were dramatic differences in seemingly similar materials. On wet sea cucumber, 28.82±1.49 larvae per replication survived to pre-pupae, while on dry sea cucumber the number was only 0.33±0.01. On wet and dry quahog, the numbers of surviving larvae were 1.83±0.60 and 10.1±1.97, respectively. This highlights the importance of thorough testing of specific substrates instead of extrapolating from published data.