Submitted to: Journal of Applied Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/16/2010
Publication Date: 8/8/2012
Publication URL: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1439-0418.2010.01606.x/abstract
Citation: Teal, P.E., Pereira, R., Segura, D.F., Haq, I., Gomez, Y., Robinson, A.S., Hendrichs, J. 2012. Methoprene and protein supplements accelerate reproductive development and improve mating success of male tephritid flies. Journal of Applied Entomology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.2010.01606.x. Interpretive Summary: Tephritid fruit flies are quarantine pests of significant importance to crops throughout the world. One way to control this pest is the sterile insect technique (SIT). In which the natural population of pests is flooded by releasing sterile males who mate with wild females. Wild females that mate with sterile males do not produce viable eggs which results in eradication over time. One of the more significant costs associated with SIT protocols for Tephritid flies is the need to hold mass reared adult flies for as many as 7, or more, days prior to release because males require time to become sexually mature. Scientists at the Center for Medical Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS, Gainesville Florida, in collaboration with scientists at Insect Pest Control Section, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear, Techniques in Food and Agriculture Vienna, Austria, the Instituto de Genética “E.A. Favret”, CNIA, INTA Castelar, Argentina, and the Programa Moscamed, Tapachula, Mexico have been studying how diet and hormone therapy can improve SIT. They have discovered that addition of the hormone mimic, methoprene, accelerates reproductive development by as much as 5 days and significantly improves mating potential of sterile males. Additionally, adding protein to the diet fed to adults acts synergistically with the methoprene to greatly improve efficacy of SIT. The scientists have developed methods to incorporate these technologies into mass rearing of sterile flies and the technique is now in use for control of the Mexican Fruit fly in Mexico.
Technical Abstract: We have been studying the physiological mechanisms responsible for coordination of reproductive maturity and sex pheromone communication in males of tephritid flies in order to develop methods for acceleration of reproductive maturity among sterilized males. Our studies revealed that the juvenile hormone analog methoprene can accelerate the rate of sexual maturity in some but not all Tephritid species tested. Additionally, we have determined that incorporation of protein hydrolysate into the adult diet improves sexual performance of sterile males. Coupling a diet enriched with protein hydrolysate for adult food and application of methoprene to adult males or pupae was found to advance significantly the age at which males of a number of species of flies from the genus Anastrepha and Bactrocera cucurbitae become sexually mature and to improve reproductive success of the males. These results have led to the development of a novel strategy to accelerate the reproductive development of mass-reared flies for use in the sterile insect technique by incorporating methoprene treatment and protein hydrolysate diets into protocols for fruit fly emergence and release facilities.