Dietary methoprene supplement promotes early sexual maturation of male Queensland fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni
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Sterile insect technique (SIT) is an environmentally benign pest management technique that relies on released sterile male insects mating with, and curtailing reproduction of, wild females. However, for species with high mortality rates and long adult maturation phases, a large proportion of the released insects can die before maturing and so fail to contribute to SIT. To counter this problem, inclusion of yeast hydrolysate in pre-release diets and treatment of pupae or adults with methoprene, a juvenile hormone analogue, have been investigated as means of accelerating development of some fruit flies, including Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt) (‘Q-fly’). Methoprene has most often been administered topically in acetone solution, which is toxic, flammable, and impractical for operational settings. As a practical alternative, we incorporated methoprene (0, 0.05, 0.1, and 0.5%) into Q-fly adult diet of sugar only or sugar mixed with yeast hydrolysate for 2 days, and then provided sugar only for the rest of the trial period. Mating performance of males and females was tested from 4 to 30 days of age. Flies provided sugar mixed with yeast hydrolysate had increased mating propensity in comparison with flies that were provided sugar only. At all ages and for both diets, all methoprene doses increased male mating probability. Methoprene treatment did not affect copula latency of males that received yeast hydrolysate, but males that received only sugar mated earlier if they had received 0.05% methoprene. Methoprene treatment of males was also associated with longer copulations, which may affect fertility of females that later remate. Females differed from males in that methoprene treatment did not significantly affect mating probability or latency, but resembled males in that methoprene treatment resulted in longer copulations. Sex differences in response to methoprene may lead to male-biased operational sex ratio when bisex Q-fly strains are used in SIT. Yeast hydrolysate increased longevity of both males and females, but methoprene treatment did not affect longevity. Overall, findings of the present study indicate that Q-fly sexual maturation can be accelerated, and SIT might hence be enhanced, by incorporation of methoprene and yeast hydrolysate in pre-release diet.
KeywordsQ-fly Tephritidae Yeast hydrolysate Sterile insect technique Development
The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of staff at New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, especially Solomon Balagawi who generously provided the flies used in this study.
This study was funded by Project Raising Q-fly Sterile Insect Technique to World Standard (HG14033) by the Hort Frontiers Fruit Fly Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative developed by Hort Innovation, with co-investment from Macquarie University and contributions from the Australian Government.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
SMA and HA were supported by Macquarie University Research Excellence Scholarships. RM was supported by a Brazilian Government Scientists without Borders Fellowship. There was no conflict of interest regarding the preparation and submission of this manuscript.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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