Mating Success of Male Mediterranean Fruit Flies Following Exposure to Two Sources of ? -Copaene, Manuka Oil and Mango

Todd E. Shelly, Amy N. Cowan, James Edu, Elaine Pahio


Recent studies on the Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly), Ceratitis capitata (Wied.), have demonstrated an increase in male mating competitiveness following exposure to particular plant structures or products, including the fruit and fruit-derived oil of orange trees, the bark and fruits of guava trees, and ginger root oil. Although it is not known which compound(s) was responsible for the enhanced mating success, all the performance-boosting substances tested thus far contain the sesquiterpene hydrocarbon a-copaene, and a-copaene tested alone was found to increase mating success in male medflies. As the concentration of a-copaene and other terpenes vary among plant species, it is not known whether exposure to a-copaene-bearing plants (or their derived oils) will universally influence the mating behavior of male medflies. The goal of this study was to describe the results of mating trials conducted after male exposure to 2 previously untested sources of a-copaene, manuka oil (from the New Zealand manuka tree) and mango fruits from cultivars in Hawaii and Guatemala. Mating trials conducted in field-cages revealed that exposure to manuka oil significantly increased the mating success of both wild males and mass-reared, sterile males. However, exposure to mangos had no effect on male mating performance in trials run in Hawaii or Guatemala. This latter result may have reflected the absence (or presence in very small amounts) of a-copaene in the mango cultivars tested or a particular mixture of compounds that diminished or blocked a-copaene’s effect on the male medflies.

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