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Fractionated irradiation improves the mating performance of the West Indian sweet potato weevil

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The sterile insect technique (SIT) is widely used to suppress or eradicate target pest insect populations.

The effectiveness of SIT depends on the ability of released sterile males to mate with and inseminate wild females. The use of gamma radiation to induce sterility, however, negatively affects both somatic cells as well as reproductive cells. Consequently, mating performance of sterilized individuals decreases drastically over time. The mating propensity of sterilized Euscepes postfasciatus (Fairmaire) males irradiated with a single dose of 150 Gy (the current standard of the Okinawa Prefecture SIT programme) is equal to that of non‐irradiated weevils for the first 6 days.

Fractionated irradiation, in which a sterilizing dose is delivered over time in a series of smaller irradiations, reduces the damage of irradiation in insects. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of fractionated irradiation on male fertilization ability, longevity and mating propensity of E. postfasciatus for a period of 16 days after irradiation.

Although fractionated irradiation totalling 150 Gy was found to induce full sterility regardless of the number of individual doses, the mating propensity of male weevils sterilized by fractionated irradiation was maintained for the first 12 days. These results demonstrate that fractionated irradiation can be highly advantageous in programmes aimed at eradication of E. postfasciatus.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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