Effects of field cage colour and supplementary shade on environmental conditions and mating behaviour of Queensland fruit flies, Bactrocera tryoni

S. R. Collins, C. W. Weldon, P. W. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The mating performance field cage test is a required periodic quality-control assessment for factory-reared fruit flies used for the sterile insect technique. The FAO/IAEA/USDA guidelines for assessing fly quality state that if during tests a large proportion of flies call and mate on cage walls, away from host trees, then environmental conditions within the cage need to be adjusted and tests repeated. Here we test effects of cage design, specifically mesh colour (green, white) and addition of supplementary shade, on the mating behaviour of Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly), Bactrocera tryoni Froggatt (Diptera: Tephritidae). Observations were made over a 4-h period at dusk when these flies mate. Changes in environmental conditions in each cage over the dusk period varied with cage design. We recorded the highest proportion of matings taking place on trees as opposed to cage walls (>90%) in the unshaded white cage, the shaded white and un-shaded green cages being intermediate (ca. 70%), and the shaded green cage had the least (ca. 40%). The effects of field cage colour and supplementary shade on mating behaviour are discussed. We recommend that Q-fly field cage tests should be conducted in cages with a light coloured mesh, and that supplementary shading should only be applied if there is a need to adjust temperature and light within the cage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-147
Number of pages6
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Volume129
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

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