Two methods of marking painted apple moth (Teia anartoides Walker, Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae), internal and external dyes, were investigated for use with the sterile insect technique, to ensure that wild and released moths could be distinguished absolutely during the eradication program. Calco Red dye was used to mark all moths internally. It was added to artificial diet and was detectable in the adults. Dye was incorporated into the larval diet at four rates. No differences were observed in mortality of the larvae, fertility of the adult female or response of male moths to virgin females in a flight tunnel. Fluorescent powder dyes were used throughout the sterile insect program to identify irradiated moths, as well as their release location and colony. However, the powdered dyes reduced the ability of male moths to detect a component of the sex pheromone in electro-antennogram tests and to respond to a calling virgin female in flight tunnel trials. Field trials suggest that moths may subsequently overcome these negative effects and respond to female moths, as moths heavily coated in dye were recaptured.
- Sterile insect technique