The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of the insecticidal compound spinosad on the survival, reproduction, and immune functions of the Mediterranean fruit fly. The lethal and sub-lethal effects were determined on Ceratitis capitata
Wied. (Diptera: Tephritidae) challenged with different concentrations of spinosad. A median lethal concentration of 0.28 ppm was observed on flies feeding for 5 days on a treated diet. A significant and concentration-dependent decrease in fecundity, egg hatch rate, and lifespan was also detected in treated compared with control flies. Gene expression analyses conducted on treated insects by RT-qPCR revealed an immunomodulatory action of sub-lethal concentrations of spinosad. Target transcripts included several genes involved in medfly immunity and male or female reproductive functions. While a significant upregulation was detected in treated males a short time after spinosad ingestion, most target genes were downregulated in treated females. Our study confirmed the high toxicity of spinosad to C. capitata
, highlighting an indirect effect on insect lifespan and reproductive performance at sub-lethal doses. In addition to defining the acute and sub-lethal toxicity of spinosad against the fly, this study provides new insights on the interaction of this compound with insect physiology.
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