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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Chemistry Research Unit

Title: Methoprene application and diet protein supplementation to male melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae, modifies female remating behavior

item Haq, Ihsan -
item Vreysen, Marc -
item Hendrichs, Jorge -

Submitted to: Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 16, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The melon fly is a significant pest of fruit and subject to world wide quarantine restrictions. concerns (Rössler, 1989). The sterile insect technique is a well established component of the area-wide integrated pest management used for melon fly suppression however, long-term mass-rearing is known to have adverse effects on male mating competitiveness. Mass-rearing environment also decrease the sterile male’s ability to decrease wild female remating that ultimately can undermine the success of sterile insect release programs. Scientists at the Insect Pest Control Laboratory, Joint FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories, Seibersdorf, Austria; the Insect Pest Control Section, Joint FAO/IAEA Division, Vienna, Austria; and the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA, ARS, Gainesville, Florida have studied the effects of providing sterile males with a protein rich diet and the hormone analog methoprene to improve reproductive success for sterile male melon flies. Their research showed that females mated with protein-deprived males, showed higher remating receptivity than females first mated with protein-fed males. Additionally, methoprene treated males became sexually mature much earlier than those that were not treated with methoprene and had enhanced mating competitiveness. This significantly reduces the cost of holding sterile males in release facilities and enhances mating competitiveness which add to the success of SIT application.

Technical Abstract: Methoprene (an analogue of juvenile hormone) application and feeding on a protein diet is known to enhance male melon fly, Bactrocera cucurbitae Coquillett (Diptera: Tephritidae), mating success. In the present study we investigated the effect of these treatments on male B. cucurbitae’s ability to inhibit female remating. While 14 day old females were fed on protein diet, six day old males were exposed to one of the following treatments: 1) topical application of methoprene and fed on a protein diet ; 2) no methoprene but fed on a protein diet ; 3) methoprene and sugar-fed only; and 4) sugar-fed, 14 day old males acted as controls. Treatments had no effect on a male’s ability to depress the female remating receptivity in comparison to the control. Females mated with protein-deprived males, showed higher remating receptivity than females first mated with protein-fed males. Methoprene and protein diet interaction had a positive effect on male mating success during the first and second mating of females. Significantly more females first mated with sugar-fed males remated with protein fed males and females first mated with methoprene treated and protein-fed males were more likely to remate with similarly treated males. Females mating latency (time to start mating) was significantly shorter with protein-fed males, and mating duration was significantly longer with protein-fed males compared with protein-deprived males. These results are discussed in the context of methoprene and/or dietary protein as pre-release treatment of sterile males in area-wide control of melon fly integrating the sterile insect technique (SIT).

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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