The preceding papers presented in this issue represent some of the activities of a group of researchers working on fruit fly mating behavior as it relates to the use of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). The group was co-ordinated and partially funded by the FAO/IAEA Joint Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture, Vienna Austria. A variety of approaches were used to examine lekking and courtship behavior of wild and mass-reared fruit flies including video analysis, morphometrics, physiological status, geographical variation and field cage evaluation. No major qualitative differences could be demonstrated between mass-reared males and wild males, although there were some specific changes related to mass rearing and irradiation. Many studies were carried out using field-caged host trees and the results of this work have led to the establishment of a standardized protocol that is now followed by all fruit fly programs using the SIT. Using these cage studies it was shown that there are no barriers to mating between medfly populations from many parts of the world. This information is of major relevance as it permits sterile flies to be shipped from one program to another. It also has some significance for the eventual commercialization of the SIT. The use of various compounds to improve the mating success of mass reared males could have a major impact on the efficiency of SIT programs. However, the initial experiments reported here will need to be expanded before this approach can be integrated into operational programs.
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