Evaluation of Rearing Parameters of a Self-Limiting Strain of the Mediterranean Fruit Fly, Ceratitis capitata (Diptera: Tephritidae)

Insects. 2020 Sep 27;11(10):663. doi: 10.3390/insects11100663.


The Mediterranean fruit fly (medfly), Ceratitis capitata, is a significant pest of stone and pome fruit that causes considerable economic losses worldwide. Current control is primarily based on insecticides, which are often mixed with protein baits. Oxitec has developed a self-limiting medfly strain (OX3864A) that demonstrates conditional female-specific mortality in the early life stages. Sustained release of OX3864A males offers medfly control, which should lead to substantial economic benefits in area-wide programmes. In the current study, the optimum quantities of mature and immature stages of the strain are assessed under semi-mass production. Moreover, the rearing and quality control limitations related to the production of this strain are provided. The data here demonstrate that the egg hatch rate can reach >85% under optimum rearing conditions. However, this depends on the number of pupae loaded in a cage and their ages. The suggested pupal density ranges between 14,000 and 18,000 pupae per cage to provide optimum egg production. In parallel, the embryo densities of 1.25-1.5 mL/kg larval Tet+ diet are recommended for strain propagation, while embryo densities of 1.25-2.0 mL/kg larval Tet- diet are suggested for male-only pupal production.

Keywords: Mediterranean fruit fly; genetic-sexing; insect pest management; mass-rearing; sterile insect technique.