Sterilization ofHulecoeteomyia japonica japonica(=Aedes japonicus japonicus) (Theobald, 1901) by high-energy photon irradiation: implications for a sterile insect technique approach in Europe

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Hulecoeteomyia japonica japonica (= Aedes japonicus japonicus) (Diptera: Culicidae) (Theobald 1901), a container-breeding invasive species in North America and Europe, is attracting particular attention for its high local abundances and possible roles in the transmission of human and animal pathogens. The preferential habitats of this species are forested and bushy areas, which renders control measures extremely inefficient. Use of the sterile insect technique (SIT) may contribute to the implementation of area-wide integrated pest management strategies, as has been successfully proven with other aedine mosquito species. The present study investigates the effects of irradiation at a dose of 40 Gy on fitness parameters in H. j. japonica. Irradiation was performed on 16–24-h-old pupae from a colonized strain (PA) using a TrueBeam linear accelerator. Males from the PA strain were crossed with females of the same colony or with field-collected females. Irradiation induced a slight increase in mortality in male pupae, but did not alter the survival and mating abilities of emerging adult males. Rates of blood feeding and fertility were lower when PA strain males were kept with field-collected females rather than PA females. Irradiated males induced reductions in fertility (residual fertility: 2.6%) and fecundity in mated females. The data indicate that the SIT is a suitable technique to enhance the control of this species.

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