Protein, lipid, carbohydrate, and energy contents of three artificial diets (Xal2, Met1, and Met2) used for laboratory-rearing and mass-rearing the Mexican fruit fly, Anastrepha ludens (Loew), for a sterile insect technique program were measured. The larval survival, pupation, pupal weight, adult emergence, sex ratio, and flight capacity of the flies reared on each of these diets were also quantified. The diet with the highest nutrient and energy content was Xal2 followed by Met2 and Met1, but larval recovery and percent pupation was significantly higher in flies reared on either the Metl or Met2 diets. A. ludens reared on Xal2 exhibited the highest proportion of adults capable of flight. No other response variable differed significantly among the three diets tested. This suggests that a high content of nutrients and multiple sources of protein (dried yeast and wheat germ in the case of the Xal2 diet) do not necessarily improve overall performance or fly quality. We conclude that nutritious diets for A. ludens can be modified to reduce their cost without compromising the performance of artificially reared flies.
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