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Keywords:

  • Mediterranean fruit fly;
  • field cage tests;
  • mating success;
  • sperm detection;
  • molecular markers;
  • citrus

Abstract

Background

The success of an area-wide sterile insect technique (SIT) programme against Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) relies on the mating success of sterile males in the field. Limited information is available about the effectiveness of sterile males in achieving mates with wild females and how these matings contribute to reducing wild populations. To this end, firstly a mating competition test was performed in the laboratory with different release ratios (1:1:0, 1:1:1, 1:1:5, 1:1:10 and 1:1:20 for wild females:wild males:sterile VIENNA-8 males respectively) and different host fruit. Secondly, the same release ratios were evaluated under semi-natural conditions on caged trees and on sentinel host.

Results

By means of molecular markers, VIENNA-8 male sperm was positively detected in those females exposed to the male ratios 1:5, 1:10 and 1:20 in the laboratory. In the field test, sterile VIENNA-8 male matings and the C. capitata progeny on apples were positively correlated with the ratio of sterile males released and with the percentage of sterile matings respectively.

Conclusions

These results confirm the validity of using the molecular detection of VIENNA-8 male sperm to predict the C. capitata population under semi-natural conditions. Implications of these results in measuring the efficacy of an SIT programme are discussed. © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry