Abstract 1 Laboratory-reared normal, and wild female Mediterranean fruit flies, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), were assayed in outdoor field cages to assess the impact of a mating-induced behavioural switch on mating and subsequent oviposition activity. 2 Virgin females preferred interactions with males leading to mating over attraction to, and oviposition in, artificial yellow spheres containing guava odour or green apples hung in a guava tree. Laboratory-reared females previously mated with either laboratory-reared normal males or laboratory-reared irradiated (sterile) males showed little interest in remating with males and instead, were much more likely to be found arrested on artificial and real fruit and ovipositing. Oviposition on artificial fruit was five times greater by females that had mated with either normal or irradiated males than by virgin females. Wild females showed similar qualitative changes in the mating-induced behavioural switch; however, oviposition activity was significantly less than for laboratory-reared females. 3 These results confirm that mating has a profound effect on the behaviour of female Mediterranean fruit flies and that irradiated males are functionally equal with normal males (lab-reared or wild) in their ability to alter female behaviour. These results are discussed in the context of the sterile insect technique for control of Mediterranean fruit flies in the field.