Cue Lure and the Mating Behavior of Male Melon Flies (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Todd E. Shelly and Ethel M. Villalobos

Abstract


Laboratory tests were conducted to assess the effect of the parapheromone cue lure on the mating behavior of male Bactrocera cucurbitae (Coquillett). Exposure to cue lure resulted in a short-term mating advantage. For wild flies, treated males that fed on cue lure on the day of testing, or 1 day prior to testing, mated more frequently than control males that had no prior exposure to cue lure. However, control and treated males had similar mating success in tests performed 3 or 7 days after the treated males were exposed to the lure. Exposure to cue lure also increased the mating success of mass-reared, irradiated males relative to unexposed wild males, though this advantage was evident for only 1 day following exposure. Cue lure appeared to enhance mating performance by increasing male wing-fanning activity but not the attractiveness of the signal per se. A field study revealed that irradiated males exposed to cue lure 1 week prior to release were less likely to be captured (in Steiner traps baited with cue lure and naled) than unexposed males. These findings suggest that exposure of sterile males to cue lure might improve the effectiveness of sterile insect release as well as enable simultaneous control programs of sterile insect release and male annihilation.

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