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A new automated chilled adult release system for the aerial distribution of sterile male tsetse flies

Mirieri C.K., Mutika G.N., Bruno J., Seck M.T., Sall B., Parker A.G., van Oers M.M., Vreysen M.J.B., Bouyer J., Abd-Alla A.M.M.. 2020. PloS One, 15 (9) : 23 p..

DOI: 10.7910/DVN/AQIW8P

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0232306

Tsetse eradication continues to be a top priority for African governments including that of Senegal, which embarked on a project to eliminate Glossina palpalis gambiensis from the Niayes area, following an area-wide integrated pest management approach with an SIT component. A successful SIT programme requires competitive sterile males of high biological quality. This may be hampered by handling processes including irradiation and the release mechanisms, necessitating continued improvement of these processes, to maintain the quality of flies. A new prototype of an automated chilled adult release system (Bruno Spreader Innovation, (BSI¿)) for tsetse flies was tested for its accuracy (in counting) and release rate consistency. Also, its impact on the quality of the released sterile males was evaluated on performance indicators, including flight propensity, mating competitiveness, premating and mating duration, insemination rate of mated females and survival of male flies. The BSITM release system accurately counted and homogenously released flies at the lowest motor speed set (0.6 rpm), at a consistent rate of 60±9.58 males/min. Also, the release process, chilling (6 ± 1°C) and passing of flies through the machine) had no significant negative impact on the male flight propensity, mating competitiveness, premating and mating durations and the insemination rates. Only the survival of flies was negatively affected whether under feeding or starvation. The positive results of this study show that the BSI¿ release system is promising for use in future tsetse SIT programmes. However, the negative impact of the release process on survival of flies needs to be addressed in future studies and results of this study confirmed under operational field conditions in West Africa.

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