Previous research revealed that exposure to the synthetic attractant trimedlure increased the mating success of male Mediterranean fruit flies, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann). In the current study, I investigated whether a similar effect resulted from male exposure to α-copaene, a naturally occurring compound found in many host plants, and two α-copaene-containing essential oils, angelica seed oil (Angelica archangelica L.) and ginger root oil, (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). For all three substances, mature males were exposed to 20 μl of the attractant over a 6-h period and then held 2 d before testing. In field-cage trials, treated males (exposed to attractants) obtained significantly more matings than control males (no exposure) for all three substances. In an additional experiment with ginger root oil, treated males prevented from contacting the oil directly (i.e., exposed to the odor only) still exhibited a mating advantage over control males. Discussion centers on the influence of α-copaene-bearing plants on the mating system of C. capitata and the possibility of using attractants in prerelease exposure of males to increase the effectiveness of sterile insect release programs.
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Vol. 94 • No. 3