Sexual Performance of Mass Reared and Wild Mediterranean Fruit Flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) from Various Origins of the Madeira Islands

Rui Pereira, Natalia Silva, Celio Quintal, Ruben Abreu, Jordan Andrade, Luis Dantas


The success of Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly) Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) control programs integrating the sterile insect technique (SIT) is based on the capacity of released the sterile males to compete in the field for mates. The Islands of Madeira are composed of 2 populated islands (Madeira and Porto Santo) where the medfly is present. To evaluate the compatibility and sexual performance of sterile flies we conducted a series of field cage tests. At same time, the process of laboratory domestication was evaluated. 3 wild populations, one semi-wild strain, and 1 mass reared strain were evaluated: the wild populations of (1) Madeira Island (north coast), (2) Madeira Island (south coast), and (3) Porto Santo Island; (4) the semi-wild population after 7 to 10 generations of domestication in the laboratory (respectively, for first and second experiment); and (5) the genetic sexing strain in use at Madeira medfly facility (VIENNA 7mix2000). Field cage experiments showed that populations of all origins are mostly compatible. There were no significant differences among wild populations in sexual competitiveness. Semi-wild and mass-reared males performed significantly poorer in both experiments than wild males in achieving matings with wild females. The study indicates that there is no significant isolation among strains tested, although mating performance is reduced in mass-reared and semi-wild flies after 7 to 10 generations in the laboratory.

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