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A comparative assessment of the response of three fruit fly species (Diptera: Tephritidae) to a spinosad-based bait: effect of ammonium acetate, female age, and protein hunger

  • J.C. Piñero (a1), R.F.L. Mau (a1) and R.I. Vargas (a2)


Ammonia-releasing substances are known to play an important role in fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) attraction to food sources, and this information has been exploited for the development of effective synthetic food-based lures and insecticidal baits. In field studies conducted in Hawaii, we examined the behavioural response of wild female oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel)), melon fly (B. cucurbitae (Coquillett)), and Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann)) to spinosad-based GF-120 NF Naturalyte Fruit Fly Bait© formulated to contain either 0, 1 or 2% ammonium acetate. Use of visually-attractive yellow bait stations for bait application in the field allowed for proper comparisons among bait formulations. Field cage tests were also conducted to investigate, using a comparative behavioural approach, the effects of female age and protein starvation on the subsequent response of F1 generation B. cucurbitae and B. dorsalis to the same three bait formulations that were evaluated in the field. Our field results indicate a significant positive effect of the presence, regardless of amount, of AA in GF-120 for B. dorsalis and B. cucurbitae. For C. capitata, there was a significant positive linear relationship between the relative amounts of AA in bait and female response. GF-120 with no AA was significantly more attractive to female C. capitata, but not to female B. dorsalis or B. cucurbitae, than the control treatment. Our field cage results indicate that the effects of varying amounts of AA present in GF-120 can be modulated by the physiological stage of the female flies and that the response of female B. cucurbitae to GF-120 was consistently greater than that of B. dorsalis over the various ages and levels of protein starvation regimes evaluated. Results are discussed in light of their applications for effective fruit fly suppression.


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