To restore male mating competitiveness of Mexican fruit flies,Anastrepha ludens (Loew) (Diptera: Tephritidae), reared for sterile insect releases by the Mexican Fruit fly Eradication Campaign, two strain replacement techniques were evaluated. Field cage male competitiveness tests revealed that laboratory males of the Metapa strain mated 3 times less often with wild females than field-collected wild males. A strain developed from the cross of wild males and laboratory females (hybrid strain) was similar to a strain developed from the cross of laboratory males and females (laboratory strain) in that its females produced similar amounts of eggs and the eggs displayed similar levels of hatch and egg-to-pupa transformation in artificial diet. By contrast, a strain developed from the cross of wild males and females (wild strain), forced into artificial rearing, experienced a series of bottlenecks involving reduced egg laying and extremely poor development in diet. The male F1 progeny of the hybrid strain and field-collected wild males outcompeted F1 laboratory males in field cage tests for matings with field-collected wild females. In conclusion, we found that strains developed from the cross of wild males and laboratory females allowed us to restore male mating competitiveness of F1 Mexican fruit flies without compromising mass-rearing production.
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Vol. 100 • No. 3