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Suppression of cuelure attraction in male Queensland fruit flies provided raspberry ketone supplements as immature adults

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Tephritid fruit flies are amongst the most damaging insect pests of horticulture globally. Some of the key fruit fly species are managed using the sterile insect technique (SIT), whereby millions of sterile males are released to suppress reproduction of pest populations. Male annihilation technique (MAT), whereby sex specific lures are used to attract and kill males, is often used to reduce wild male numbers before SIT programs commence, providing released sterile males an increased numerical advantage. Overall program efficacy might be improved if MAT could be deployed simultaneously with SIT, continuously depleting fertile males from pest populations and replacing them with sterile males. However, such ‘male replacement’ requires a means of suppressing attraction of released sterile males to lures used in MAT. Previous studies have found that exposure of some fruit flies to lure compounds as mature adults can suppress subsequent response to those lures, raising the possibility of pre-release treatments. However, this approach requires holding flies until after maturation for treatment and then release. The present study takes a novel approach of exposing immature adult male Queensland fruit flies (Bactrocera tryoni, or ‘Qfly’) to raspberry ketone (RK) mixed in food, forcing these flies to ingest RK at ages far younger than they would naturally. After feeding on RK-supplemented food for two days after emergence, male Qflies exhibited a reduction in attraction to cuelure traps that lasted more than 20 days. This approach to RK exposure is compatible with current practises, in which Qflies are released as immature adults, and also yields advantages of accelerated reproductive development and increased mating propensity at young ages.




Akter, H., Adnan, S., Morelli, R., Rempoulakis, P., & Taylor, P. W. (2017). Suppression of cuelure attraction in male Queensland fruit flies provided raspberry ketone supplements as immature adults. PLoS ONE, 12(8).

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