Evaluation of Rearing Parameters of a Self-Limiting Strain of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae)
Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine, Complexe Horticole d’Agadir, Ait Melloul 80150, Morocco
Omnium Agricole du Souss, Tassilla III, Agadir 80000, Morocco
Oxitec Ltd., 71 Innovation Dr, Milton Park, Milton, Abingdon OX14 4RX, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 September 2020 / Revised: 22 September 2020 / Accepted: 23 September 2020 / Published: 27 September 2020
The Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly), Ceratitis capitata, causes billions of dollars in losses to a wide variety of fruit and vegetable crops. Therefore, it needs to be effectively controlled. The use of chemical control is not sustainable because of its negative effects on the environment. As an alternative, the use of an area-wide sterile insect technique (SIT) has been shown to be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option. This technique involves the mass rearing, irradiation for sterility, and release of males. Matings between wild females and sterile males result in no offspring production. The genetically sterile female specific medfly strain OX3864A has the potential to reduce the population of medfly through periodic male releases in a process similar to the common SIT. This study looked at ways of optimizing the mass rearing of the OX3864A strain. We found that the highest egg production is reached when mass-rearing cages are populated with pupal densities ranging from 14,000 to 18,000 per cage. In parallel, the optimal embryo densities for strain propagation and male-only pupal production are recommended. Using these densities, the quality of the insects meets the common standards.