In Italy, Aedes albopictus Skuse is currently recognized as the most dangerous mosquito, and as currently applied conventional control methods gave unsatisfactory results, we are developing alternative strategies such as the sterile insect technique. To find the optimal sterilizing dose, male pupae were exposed to different doses of γ rays in the range 20–80 Gy, generated by a Cesium-137 source. The effects of male pupal age at irradiation and γ ray dose on adult male emergence, sterility level, longevity, and mating capacity were evaluated, and dose-response curves of residual fertility were calculated. Radiation tests were also performed on female pupae to observe their reproductive capacity in case of accidental release. Results confirmed that the age at which the male pupa is irradiated is an important factor that affects the longevity of the adult, whereas the effect of age on the induced sterility level is less pronounced. When male pupae older than 30 h were irradiated, the longevity of the adults was not affected by doses up to 40 Gy. The 40-Gy dose appeared sufficient to induce high level of sterility (>99%) at any male pupal age for all the strains tested. The duration of coupling and the number of mated females per male appeared to be affected by the radiation received by male pupae only at doses higher than 40 Gy. The female pupae were more sensitive to radiation than male pupae, with strong reduction in fecundity and fertility at 20 Gy and complete suppression of oviposition at higher doses.
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Vol. 47 • No. 4