Submitted to: Journal of Insect Physiology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/22/2008
Publication Date: 4/1/2009
Citation: Pereira, R., Sivinski, J.M., Teal, P.E. 2009. Influence of methoprene and dietary protein on male Anastrepha suspensa (Diptera: Tephritidae) mating aggregations. Journal of Insect Physiology. 55(4):328-335. Interpretive Summary: Fruit flies, such as the Caribbean fruit fly, attack scores of fruits and vegetables, and are responsible for quarantines wherever they occur. The release of mass-reared sterilized males is an important means of their control, but this requires that the released males be sexually competitive with their wild rivals. Scientists at the USDA-ARS, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida investigated the sexual competitiveness and attractiveness of male Caribbean fruit flies whose hormone levels had been elevated and who had been provided with an enriched diet. Males that received either treatment were more successful in obtaining copulations and those that received both obtained still more mates. Both additives should be considered in the mass-rearing of flies destined for suppression or eradication programs.
Technical Abstract: The Caribbean fruit fly, Anastrepha suspensa (Loew), like many polyphagous tephritids, exhibits a lek polygyny mating system. Juvenile hormone levels and adult diet have important effects on male sexual success. The components of this success, male attractiveness and competitiveness, and consequently lek tenure were investigated. Experiments were conducted to compare male A. suspensa lek tenure and attractiveness to females when submitted to four different treatments: (M+P+) application of juvenile hormone analog, methoprene (M) and sugar and hydrolyzed yeast as adult food; (M+P-) application of M and sugar as adult food; (M-P+) no application of M and sugar and hydrolyzed yeast as adult food; and (M-P-) no application of M and sugar as adult food. M+P+ males initiated and participated more in aggregations, called and mated more frequently, and occupied the lek centers more often. They also had fewer mounting attempts to obtain a mating than males in all the other treatments. Overall, 78% of the males that initiated aggregations mated. M+P+ males emitted pheromones and acoustically signaled more often and attracted more females than males in other treatments. Male sexual performance was improved due to the methoprene application, protein supply, and interaction of methoprene and protein for most of the parameters studied. These observations are consistent with both the “hotspot” and “hotshot” models of lek evolution. Since the success of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT), a commonly employed technique to control pest tephritids, requires the release of males that can form leks, engage in agonistic sexual interactions, and attract females, these positive effects of protein and methoprene are of practical importance.