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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Barry, James
item Mcinnis, Donald
item Gates, Danny
item Morse, Joseph

Submitted to: Journal of Economic Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2002
Publication Date: 7/30/2003
Citation: Barry, J., Mcinnis, D.O., Gates, D., Morse, J. 2003. Effects of irradiation on mediterranean fruit flies (diptera: tephritidae): emergence, suvivorship, lure attraction, and mating competition. Journal of Economic Entomology. 96:615-622.

Interpretive Summary: Sterile insect release programs for fruit flies rely on the mass-production of high quality insects to help control or eradicate wild populations. The use of gamma irradiation to sterilize the insects introduces problems regarding negative quality effects of the irradiation treatment. This study examined the effects of irradiation upon adult emergence rate, survivorship, response to standard male lures, and mating ability. We found that non-irradiated flies had significantly higher adult emergence, flight ability, and survivorship in the laboratory compared to irradiated flies. In general, non-irradiated flies responded better to male lures, and at an earlier age than did wild flies. Importantly, mating competitive ability for flies in outdoor field cages was not affected by irradiation.

Technical Abstract: Irradiation of puparia in Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), sterile insect release programs can negatively affect adult fly performance. Emergence, survivorship, lure attraction, and mating competition tests were performed on irradiated and unirradiated Mediterranean fruit flies in Hawaii. Unirradiated flies of the Vienna-7 (tsl) strain had higher emergence, flight ability, and survivorship compared with irradiated flies. In general, unirradiated flies were more responsive to trimedlure, but this effect was not consistent for all strains at every age. Laboratory strains, of both unirradiated and irradiated flies, responded to trimedlure at a younger age than wild flies, which may be a result of inadvertent selection for decreased development time in laboratory-reared flies. Mating competition tests with irradiated and unirradiated flies showed no significant differences. Costs associated with the irradiation process and the development of alternative control techniques are discussed.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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