Project Number: 2040-22430-027-18-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jul 1, 2019
End Date: Jun 30, 2022
Combining the strengths of the male annihilation technique (MAT) with the virtues of sterile insect technique (SIT) holds promise for the control and eradication of Bactrocera fruit flies and possibly other species for which there exist powerful attractants. A synergy of the two techniques would increase the relative reproductive fitness of released sterile males by rendering them less- or non- responsive to the powerful male lure-baited traps that attract and kill their wild competitors. Manoukis et al (2018), suggests that Bactrocera dorsalis larvae reared in host fruit in the genus Terminalia (common name: tropical almond) result in adult males that are much less responsive to the powerful male lure methyl eugenol (ME). This provides evidence for a potential mechanism for this strategy, but it requires further study to improve our understanding of this process so that it can be implemented as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) program. We plan to build on this research by identifying the compounds in Terminalia fruit that results in this behavior through the integration of chemical ecology, behavioral ecology, and genetics. We anticipate this research to result in a novel additive that can be introduced to larval diet to render mass-reared sterile male B. dorsalis temporarily resistant to methyl eugenol attractants.
1) Screen extract of terminalia fruit for chemicals that reduce or eliminate attraction to ME in sexually mature adult males after larval exposure with initial focus on methyl eugenol related chemicals (ME analogues). 2) Determine dosage-related induction of non-response using laboratory bioassays. 3) Measure the effect of larval feeding on ME non-response inducing chemicals on key fitness characteristics: survivorship and flight-ability. 4) Conduct mark-release-recapture experiments in the field to assess the functional potential of the non-response inducing chemicals to reduce mortality of SIT males caused under MAT. 5) Confirm non-heritability of ME insensitivity and measure intergenerational effects on B. dorsalis due to exposure to chemical.