Applied Entomology and Zoology

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 3–14 | Cite as

Insect quality control: synchronized sex, mating system, and biological rhythm



The sterile insect technique (SIT) is a method of eradicating insects by releasing mass-reared sterilized males into fields to reduce the hatchability of eggs laid by wild females that have mated with the sterile males. SIT requires mass-production of the target insect, and maintenance of the quality of the mass-reared insects. The most important factor is successful mating between wild females and sterile males because SIT depends on their synchronized copulation. Therefore, understanding the mating systems and fertilization processes of target insects is prerequisite. Insect behavior often has circadian rhythms that are controlled by a biological clock. However, very few studies of relationships between sterile insect quality and circadian rhythm have been performed compared with the amount of research on the mating ability of target insects. The timing of male copulation attempts with receptivity of females is key to successful mating between released males and wild females. Therefore, we should focus on the mechanisms controlling the timing of mating in target insects. On the other hand, in biological control projects, precise timing of the release of natural enemies to attack pest species is required because behavior of pests and control agents are affected by their circadian rhythms. Involving both chronobiologists and applied entomologists might produce novel ideas for sterile insect quality control by synchronized sex between mass-reared and wild flies, and for biological control agent quality by matching timing in activity between predator activity and prey behavior. Control of the biological clocks in sterile insects or biological control agents is required for advanced quality control of rearing insects.


Area-wide pest management Biological control Chronobiology Clock gene Mating Quality control 



The author was invited to write this report as the prize review of the Society for Japanese Applied Entomology and Zoology. I thank the Society and all colleagues, especially entomologists in Okinawa prefecture and Okayama University, for their support of this study. The study was supported by Plant Breeding and Environmental Research Project Entrusting to Prefectural Institutes; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Research Council (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries), Japan.


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© The Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental ScienceOkayama UniversityOkayamaJapan

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