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Title: Effects of the juvenile hormone analogue methoprene and dietary protein on male melon fly Bactrocera cucurbitae (Diptera:Tephritidae) mating success

item Haq, Ihsan
item Caceres, Carlos
item Hendrichs, Jorge
item Teal, Peter
item Wornoayporn, Viwat
item Stauffer, Christian
item Robinson, Alan

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/23/2010
Publication Date: 11/1/2010
Publication URL:
Citation: Haq, I.U., Caceres, C., Hendrichs, J., Teal, P.E., Wornoayporn, V., Stauffer, C., Robinson, A.S. 2010. Effects of the juvenile hormone analogue methoprene and dietary protein on male melon fly Bactrocera cucurbitae (Diptera:Tephritidae) mating success. Journal of Insect Physiology. 56:1503-1509.

Interpretive Summary: The Mellon fly is a quarantine pest of significant importance to a wide variety of orchard and vegetable crops. There is considerable emphasis on developing control programs for this pest using the sterile insect technique in which the wild population is reduced or eradicated by mass release of sterile males which mate with wild females. Offspring from these mating are sterile. One of the more significant costs associated with SIT protocols is the need to hold mass reared adult flies for as many as 20, or more, days prior to release because males require time to become sexually mature. Scientists at the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratories, Seibersdorf, Austria National Agricultural Research Centre, Park Road, Islamabad, Pakistan, Insect Pest Control Section, Joint FAO/IAEA Division, Vienna, Austria, Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, FL, and University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria have been studying how reproductive development can be accelerated in these flies. They have discovered that addition of the hormone mimic, methoprene, and an adult diet containing protein accelerates reproductive development in males of the Mellon fly. Using this technique they have produced sterile males that are morefit and which become sexually mature 10 days earlier than males treated in the standard way. This technology has significant importance for reducing cost of the sterile insect technique for this species and improving efficacy of the technique.

Technical Abstract: The effect of access to dietary protein (P) and the topical application of a juvenile hormone analogue (methoprene (M)) on mating behaviour of male melon fly Bactrocera cucurbitae was assessed in the laboratory and in field cages. Age, dietary protein and methoprene application increased the mating success and influenced the mating behaviour. Treatment with methoprene (M+) to protein-deprived (P ) males had only a modest effect on the acceleration of sexual maturity, but application of methoprene (M+) to protein-fed (P+) males greatly accelerated sexual maturity. Protein diet (P+) increased mating success of males in comparison to protein-deprived (P ) males. Protein and methoprene have a synergistic effect on mating behaviour, since M + P+ treated males exhibit reduced mating latency and achieved higher mating in younger ages than methoprene and/or protein-deprived males. Copulation duration was correlated with nutritional status and M + P+ males copulated longer at the age of advanced sexualmaturity thanM P+ males. Our results suggest that in this species with a lek mating system, females discriminate between the males based on their sexual signals, which were influenced by protein in the adult diet, methoprene application and age. The results are discussed in the light of mating competitiveness of precocious treated young males and their relevance to Sterile Insect Technique application against this pest species.