Effects of Irradiation on the courtship behavior of Medfly (Diptera, Tephritidae) mass reared for the Sterile Insect Technique

  • S. A. Lux
  • J. C. Vilardi
  • P. Liedo
  • K. Gaggl
  • G. E. Calcagno
  • F. N. Munyiri
  • M. T. Vera
  • F. Manso


The effects of routine irradiation of the mass-reared males of the medfly, Ceratitis capitata on their mating performance were re-evaluated. Male courtship behavior was observed and quantified both in laboratory (video recording cages) and field cage conditions. For the experiments, samples of the strains routinely mass-reared for SIT operations at Seibersdorf, Austria; Mendoza, Argentina and Metapa, Mexico, were used. No major qualitative differences were found in the courtship pattern between irradiated and non-irradiated males. However, the results revealed that the process of routine irradiation as commonly used in the mass rearing facilities at the time of the experiments, reduces the mating performance of the sterilized males nearly two-fold. A whole range of quantitative differences between the irradiated and non-irradiated males were detected and described, and their implications for the efficiency of SIT operations are discussed. In contrast, partial sterilization with low doses of radiation did not affect the mating competitiveness of the treated males to a noticeable degree. In view of the results obtained, and due to the current wider use of "male-only" strains in SIT operations, a re-evaluation of the sterilization strategy and irradiation doses for males used in SIT is recommended.

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