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Locomotion Activity Meter for Quality Assessment of Mass-Reared Sterile Male Moths (Lepidoptera)

Brown, Robert L., Stanbury, Mailee, El-Sayed, Ashraf M., Laban, John, Butler, Ruth, Suckling, David M.
The Florida entomologist 2016 v.99 no.sp1 pp. 131-137
Epiphyas postvittana, air flow, glass, irradiation, locomotion, male effect, males, mass rearing, moths, pupae, quality control, scotophase, sex pheromones, sexual maturity, temperature
Irradiation is used to provide sterile insects from mass-rearing facilities, but irradiation can degrade insect quality. A system is described that uses repeatable pheromone stimuli to activate male moths housed with clean airflow in a commercially available insect activity meter, for potential use in quality assessment of mass-reared moths in sterile insect programs. We tested sexually mature wild and sterile light brown apple moth (LBAM), Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), males at the commencement of scotophase in a simple assay for increased mate-seeking activity after a 2 s stimulus with a 4-component synthetic pheromone source for 2 s, after a 5 s baseline of activity. Male activity at the upwind end of the glass tube was assessed by infrared beam. Next, we tested if a temperature shock at 30 °C in the pupal stage for various durations (0, 1, 2 or 4 h) would have an effect on male moth response to the sex pheromone. The results indicated similar baseline activity in clean airflow, but a significantly greater response after pheromone stimulation from non-irradiated males, compared with irradiated males. Responses from irradiated males averaged 78% of the control response (n = 320). The temperature shock did not appear to change the response of the non-irradiated moths (n = 64), but there was a slight decline in response by irradiated moths at the 2 and 4 h temperature shock durations. The system could be readily modified to be suitable for factory scale quality assurance.