Queensland fruit flies Bactrocera tryoni ('Q-fly') have long adult prereproductive development periods, which can present challenges for sterile insect technique (SIT) programs. Holding the sterile flies in release facilities is expensive for control programs. Alternatively, releases of sexually immature males can lead to substantial mortality of sterile males before they mature. Recent studies have reported effectiveness of dietary supplementation with a mosquito larvicide (NOMOZ) that contains S-methoprene, a juvenile hormone analogue, for accelerating sexual development of fertile Q-fly males. However, it is not known whether effects on sterile flies are comparable to effects on fertile flies, or whether effects of methoprene-containing larvicide are comparable to effects of analytical standard methoprene such has been used in most studies. Here we address both knowledge gaps, investigating the effects of analytical standard methoprene and NOMOZ mixed with food and provided for 48 h following emergence on sexual development and longevity of fertile and sterile Q-flies. Compared with controls, fertile and sterile male Q-flies that were provided diets supplemented with methoprene from either source exhibited substantially accelerated sexual development by 2-3 d and longer mating duration. Unlike males, females did not respond to methoprene treatment. Although fertile and sterile flies were generally similar in sexual development and response to methoprene treatment, sterile flies of both sexes tended to have shorter copula duration than fertile flies. Neither methoprene supplements nor sterilization affected longevity of flies. The present study confirms effectiveness of dietary methoprene supplements in accelerating sexual development of both fertile and sterile male (but not female) Q-flies, and also confirms that low-cost mosquito larvicides that contain methoprene can achieve effects similar to those for high-cost analytical grade methoprene as prerelease supplements for Q-fly SIT.
- Juvenile hormone