INFLUENCE OF MALE DIET ON MALE MATING SUCCESS AND LONGEVITY AND FEMALE REMATING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN FRUIT FLY (DIPTERA: TEPHRITIDAE) UNDER LABORATORY CONDITIONS

Todd E. Shelly, and Susan Kennelly

Abstract


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effect of dietary protein on the mating behavior and survival of male Mediterranean fruit flies (medflies), Ceratitis capitata (Wied.), as a means of enhancing the effectiveness of mass-reared males in sterile release programs to suppress wild populations. Conducted in the laboratory, our study addressed three main questions: 1) Does the inclusion of protein in the adult diet affect mating success of wild and mass-reared males? 2) Are copulation duration and remating tendency of wild females affected by the strain (wild versus mass-reared) and diet (protein-fed versus protein-deprived) of their initial mating partner? 3) Does the inclusion of protein in the adult diet affect the longevity of mass-reared males? In mating trials involving wild flies, protein-fed males had a mating advantage over protein-deprived males. However, the addition of protein to the diet did not boost the mating success of mass-reared males in competition with wild or mass-reared males for wild females. The inclusion of protein in the male diet had no apparent effect on female remating tendency, copulation duration, or male longevity. Independent of male diet, we found no difference between wild and mass-reared males in the duration of copulations with wild females, and wild females mated initially to wild and mass-reared males displayed similar remating propensity. The implications of these findings for SIT are discussed.

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