Mating competitiveness trials have been conducted in large net-screened enclosures (8 by 5 by 2.8 m) built in a natural shaded environment, in the summers of 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 in northern Italy. Aedes albopictus (Skuse) males were radio-sterilized by applying gamma radiations at doses in the range 30–60 Gy. Gamma radiation was administered to aged pupae at the rate of 2.3 Gy/min. Reared radiated males (originally collected in Rimini, Forlì, Bologna, Matera, Pinerolo) and hybrid radiated males were tested against wild fertile males (originated from eggs collected in Rimini and Cesena) and reared fertile males, in multiple comparisons for mating competitiveness with reared or wild females. The ratio was kept constant at 100-100_100 (fertile males-radiated males_virgin females). Mating competitiveness was estimated through the calculation of the hatching rate of the eggs laid in oviposition traps positioned inside enclosures. No clear effect of the strains tested (reared, wild, or hybrid) was found. Results demonstrated that reducing the radiation dose from 60 to 30 Gy increases males' competitiveness. Laboratory investigations conducted after controversial results in the 2006 preliminary trials, showed that radiation induces precociousness in adult male emergence.
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Vol. 50 • No. 1