Previous research revealed that exposure to ginger root oil, Zingiber officinale Roscoe, containing the known male attractant (α-copaene) increased the mating success of male Mediterranean fruit flies, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), from a newly established laboratory colony. The goal of the current study was to determine whether exposure to ginger root oil likewise enhanced the mating competitiveness of irradiated C. capitata males from a 5-yr-old mass-reared strain. Mating tests were conducted in field cages containing guava trees (Psidium guajava L.) to monitor the mating frequency of irradiated, mass-reared and wild males competing for wild females. In the absence of chemical exposure, wild males outcompeted the mass-reared males and obtained 74% of all matings. However, following exposure to ginger root oil (20 μl for 6 h), the mating frequencies were reversed. Whether exposed as mature (3-d-old) or immature (1-d-old) adults, mass-reared males achieved ≈75% of all matings in tests conducted 2 or 4 d following exposure, respectively. Irradiated, mass-reared males prevented from contacting the oil directly (i.e., exposed to the odor only for 6 h) still exhibited a mating advantage over wild males. In an additional study, signaling levels and female arrivals were compared between males exposed to ginger root oil and nonexposed males, but no significant differences were detected. The implications of these findings for the sterile insect technique are discussed.
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Vol. 94 • No. 6