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Mate choice by wild and mass-reared females of the Mediterranean fruit fly


Todd E. Shelly (corresponding author), USDA-APHIS, 41-650 Ahiki Street, Waimanalo, HI 96795, USA. E-mail:


The sterile insect technique (SIT) is used to control Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), but its effectiveness is limited by low sexual competitiveness of mass-reared males. This study investigated whether wild and mass-reared [from a temperature sensitive lethal (tsl) genetic sexing strain] females display similar mate preferences and thus exert similar selective forces on the evolution of male courtship behaviour. Wild females preferred wild males over tsl males, whereas tsl females mated indiscriminately. The probability that mounting resulted in copulation was related to the duration of pre-mount courtship for wild females, and wild males performed longer courtships than tsl males. Copulation occurred independently of courtship duration in tsl females. Counter to the aim of the SIT, female choice by tsl females appears to promote the evolution of male behaviour disfavoured by wild females.