Do Methyl Eugenol-Fed Males of the Oriental Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Induce Female Re-Mating?

Todd E. Shelly, James Edu


Polyandry has been reported for various species of tephritid fruit flies, and efforts to explain this phenomenon have focused primarily on the respective roles of sperm stores and male accessory gland fluids. However, recent research on the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), demonstrated that female re-mating propensity was influenced by the “suitability” of available mates; preferred males were more likely to induce female re-mating than were less attractive males. The goal of this study was to determine whether male attractiveness similarly influenced female re-mating in the oriental fruit fly, Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel). Females of this species are known to mate preferentially with males that previously ingested methyl eugenol (ME), a plant-borne compound whose metabolites are used in the synthesis of the male sex pheromone. Females were mated initially (with males denied ME), held isolated from males with access to oviposition substrate, and then offered ME-fed or non-ME-fed males at 1, 2, 3, or 6 weeks after the initial mating. Contrary to the Mediterranean fruit fly, there was no effect of male attractiveness (i.e., ME feeding status) on the re-mating tendency of B. dorsalis females. Also, time elapsed since the initial mating had no effect on the probability of female re-mating. When offered a choice of males, however, non-virgin females, like virgins, displayed a significant preference for ME-fed over non-ME-fed males.

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