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The effect of age on the mating competitiveness of male Glossina fuscipes fuscipes and G. palpalis palpalis

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Author(s): P.P. Abila | M. Kiendrebeogo | G.N. Mutika | A.G. Parker | A.S. Robinson

Journal: Journal of Insect Science
ISSN 1536-2442

Volume: 3;
Start page: 13;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Keywords: optimal mating age | male competitiveness | sterile insect technique | Glossina fuscipes fuscipes | Glossina palpalis palpalis

ABSTRACT
The effect of age on male Glossina fuscipes fuscipes, Newstead, and Glossina palpalis palpalis, Austin (Diptera: Glossinidae) competiveness were investigated with a view to estimate optimal age for sterile male release. Sterile insect technique involves the mass production, sterilization and sequential release of males of the target species to out compete the wild male population. Mating between released sterile males and wild females produce inviable progeny and the population is reduced over several generations to unsustainable levels. It is vital that the released male are of high quality and are sexually competitive. Age is one parameter affecting the sexual competiveness of the male tsetse fly. The optimal release age was estimated by assessing sexual competitiveness of flies of different age categories, 1, 5, 8 and 13-days after adult eclosion. A walk-in field-cage was used in order to approximate as closely as possible the actual field scenario during sterile insect release programes. It was shown that 8 and 13-day old males mated significantly more frequently, i.e. were more competitive, in the presence of equal numbers of 1 and 5-day old males. The age of male tsetse flies significantly affected competitiveness in both species studied. The ability of G. f. fuscipes to inseminate was not age dependent, and insemination occurred in all females that mated regardless of male age. In G. p. palpalis, however, 1-day old males were least able to inseminate. Mating duration was not significantly affected by age in both species. Eight to thirteen day old males of the test species are here recommended as the optimal sterile male release age.
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