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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Influence of methoprene and dietary protein on maturation and sexual performance of sterile, Anastrepha ludens (Diptera: Tephritidae)

item Pereira, Rui
item Teal, Peter
item Conway, Hugh
item Worley, John
item Sivinski, John

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/5/2010
Publication Date: 8/8/2012
Publication URL:
Citation: Pereira, R., Teal, P.E., Conway, H., Worley, J., Sivinski, J.M. 2012. Influence of methoprene and dietary protein on maturation and sexual performance of sterile, Anastrepha ludens (Diptera: Tephritidae). Journal of Applied Entomology. 135(9):1-9.

Interpretive Summary: One way to control this pest is the sterile insect technique (SIT). Control is achieved in SIT by mass release of sterile males who mate with wild females. Wild females that mate with sterile males do not produce viable eggs which, over time, results in population decline and eradication. 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 from the Insect Pest Control Section, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear, Techniques in Food and Agriculture Vienna, Austria, the Center for Medical Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS, Gainesville Florida and USDA /APHIS/ PPQ Mexican Fruit Fly Rearing Facility, Edinburg, Texas have been studying how hormone therapy can improve SIT for the Mexican fruit fly a quarantine pest that ranges throughout Central America, Mexico and into Texas and California. They have discovered that addition of the hormone mimic, methoprene, in combination with an adult diet rich in protein accelerates reproductive development in males of the fly. The scientists are now developing methods to incorporate this technologies into mass rearing of sterile flies to improve efficacy of SIT.

Technical Abstract: Juvenile hormone levels and adult diet have important effects on the attractiveness and competitiveness of the male Anastrepha ludens (Loew) (Mexican fruit fly). Since the success of the sterile insect technique requires the release of males that can compete in the wild, these effects are very important. Laboratory and field cage experiments were conducted to compare male maturation sexual performance when submitted to four different treatments: (M+P+) application of the 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. Methoprene and protein accelerates the male sexual maturation. When combined (M+P+) this acceleration anticipates the male maturation in 4 days (from 9 days after the emergence to 5 days). Both, methoprene and protein have a significant effect on the male sexual performance. This effect is even more significant when used in combination. Protein significantly increases the weigh of the males. Additional, the effect in female maturation is similar of the one found in males. The substantial improvement in male sexual performance due to the hormone application, protein supply, and interaction of hormone and protein has the potential of producing more efficacious sterile males.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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