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Pre-release feeding on yeast hydrolysate enhances sexual competitiveness of sterile male Queensland fruit flies in field cages

Authors

  • Diana Pérez-Staples,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Brain, Behaviour & Evolution, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia, and
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  • Christopher W. Weldon,

    1. Department of Brain, Behaviour & Evolution, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia, and
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  • Catherine Smallridge,

    1. Department of Brain, Behaviour & Evolution, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia, and
    2. Sustainable Systems, Entomology Unit, South Australian Research and Development Institute, GPO Box 397, Adelaide, SA, 5001, Australia
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  • Phillip W. Taylor

    1. Department of Brain, Behaviour & Evolution, Macquarie University, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW, 2109, Australia, and
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*Correspondence and present address: Diana Pérez-Staples, Instituto de Biotecnología y Ecología Aplicada (INBIOTECA), Universidad Veracruzana, Apartado Postal 250, C.P. 91090 Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. E-mail: diperez@uv.mx

Abstract

Recent laboratory studies of mass-reared flies in small cages have found that periods of just 24- or 48-h access to yeast hydrolysate can substantially enhance mating performance of mass-reared male Queensland fruit flies, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (Diptera: Tephritidae) (‘Q-flies’). Using field cage tests that provide a better approximation of nature, we here investigated whether access to yeast hydrolysate for 48 h after adult emergence improves the ability of male and female mass-reared, sterile Q-flies to compete sexually with wild-type flies that had been provided continuous access to yeast hydrolysate. Mating probability of sterile males was significantly increased by 48-h access to yeast hydrolysate; sterile males provided 48-h access to yeast hydrolysate had mating probability similar to that of wild males provided continuous access to yeast hydrolysate, whereas sterile males deprived of access to yeast hydrolysate had much lower mating probability. Unlike males, access to yeast hydrolysate for 48 h did not increase mating probability of sterile female Q-flies. We instead found that wild females provided continuous access to yeast hydrolysate had higher mating probability than sterile females that did or did not have 48-h access to yeast hydrolysate. This result raises the possibility that a bisexual Q-fly strain might operate essentially as a male-only release when the flies are given access to yeast hydrolysate during a 48-h pre-release holding period. Sterile males given access to yeast hydrolysate for 48 h mated significantly earlier in the evening than wild males and, as in other recent studies, this tendency was associated with an increased tendency to mate on the trees rather than the cage walls. There was no evidence of sexual isolation in this study, as wild and sterile mass-reared flies showed no evidence of preferential mating with their own kind. Further studies are now needed to assess the potential for pre-release access to yeast hydrolysate to improve sexual performance and longevity of sterile, mass-reared, Q-flies in the field.

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