A novel molecular approach to assess mating success of sterile Ceratitis capitata (Diptera : Tephritidae) males in sterile insect technique programs
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Areawide sterile insect technique (SIT) programs against Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae), are increasingly implemented worldwide. A key issue in SIT is to assess mating success of released sterile males, which could be currently estimated by egg hatchability and by stored sperm head measurements. We report here on a novel molecular approach that would allow detecting the presence of Mediterranean fruit fly sterile male sperm in the female spermathecae under field conditions, as a precise marker to assess mating performance. The simplicity (only two polymerase chain reactions) and reliability of this method, jointly with the capability to detect Vienna sperm in wild Mediterranean fruit fly maintained in monitoring traps for 7 d under field conditions, suggest that it could be an efficient tool when coupled with areawide SIT programs.