Distinctive egg-laying patterns in terminal versus non-terminal periods in three fruit fly species

Xiang Meng, Junjie Hu, Richard E. Plant, Tim E. Carpenter, James R. Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The specific objective of this study was to use a logistic regression model for determining the degree to which egg laying patterns of individual females at the end of life (i.e., terminal segments) in each of three different fruit fly species could be distinguished from the egg-laying patterns over a similar period in midlife (i.e., non-terminal segments). Extracting data from large-scale databases for 11-day terminal and 11-day non-terminal segments in the vinegar fly (Drosophila melanogaster), the Mexican fruit fly (Anastrepha ludens) and the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) and organizing the model's results in a 2 × 2 contingency table, we found that: (1) daily egg-laying patterns in fruit flies can be used to distinguish terminal from non-terminal periods; (2) the overall performance metrics such as precision, accuracy, false positives and true negatives depended heavily on species; (3) differentiating between terminal and non-terminal segments is more difficult when flies die at younger ages; and (4) among the three species the best performing metrics including accuracy and precision were those produced using data on D. melanogaster. We conclude that, although the reliability of the prediction of whether a segment occurred at the end of life is relatively high for most species, it does not follow precisely predicting remaining life will also be highly reliable since classifying an end of life period is a fundamentally different challenge than is predicting an exact day of death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111201
JournalExperimental Gerontology
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Anastrepha ludens
  • Biodemography
  • Ceratitis capitata
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Insect mortality
  • Mediterranean fruit fly
  • Mexican fruit fly
  • Reproduction
  • Time-to-death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Aging
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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