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The sterile insect technique for controlling populations of aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) on Reunion Island: Mating vigour of sterilized males

Oliva C.F., Jacquet M., Gilles J., Lemperière G., Maquart P.O., Quilici S., Schooneman F., Vreysen M.J.B., Boyer S.. 2012. PloS One, 7 (11) : 8 p..

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049414

Reunion Island suffers from high densities of the chikungunya and dengue vector Aedes Reunion Island suffers from high densities of the chikungunya and dengue vector Aedes albopictus. The sterile insect technique (SIT) offers a promising strategy for mosquito-borne diseases prevention and control. For such a strategy to be effective, sterile males need to be competitive enough to fulfil their intended function by reducing wild mosquito populations in natura. We studied the effect of irradiation on sexual maturation and mating success of males, and compared the sexual competitiveness of sterile versus wild males in the presence of wild females in semi-field conditions. For all untreated or sterile males, sexual maturation was completed within 13 to 20 h post-emergence and some males were able to inseminate females when 15 h old. In the absence of competition, untreated and sterile males were able to inseminate the same number of virgin females during 48 h, in small laboratory cages: an average of 93% of females was inseminated no matter the treatment, the age of males, and the sex ratio. Daily mating success of single sterile males followed the same pattern as for untreated ones, although they inseminated significantly fewer females after the ninth day. The competitiveness index of sterile males in semi-field conditions was only 0.14 when they were released at 1-day old, but improved to 0.53 when the release occurred after a 5-day period in laboratory conditions. In SIT simulation experiments, a 5:1 sterile to wild male ratio allowed a two-fold reduction of the wild population's fertility. This suggests that sterile males could be sufficiently competitive to mate with wild females within the framework of an SIT component as part of an AW-IPM programme for suppressing a wild population of Ae. albopictus in Reunion Island. It will be of interest to minimise the prerelease period in controlled conditions to ensure a good competitiveness without increasing mass rearing costs.

Mots-clés : aedes albopictus; stérilisation; lâcher d'insectes stériles; contrôle de maladies; lutte anti-insecte; vecteur de maladie; virose; comportement sexuel; reproduction sexuée; virus de chikungunya; réunion; france

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