Remating by female Mediterranean fruit flies (Ceratitis capitata, Diptera: Tephritidae): Temporal patterns and modulation by male condition

Sagi Gavriel*, Yoav Gazit, Boaz Yuval

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


We determined the temporal pattern of female remating in the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, and how mating with sterile males affects remating. In addition, we examined the hypotheses that sterile male nutrition and age affect the subsequent receptivity of their mates. Temporally, female receptivity varied significantly throughout the experimental period. Relatively high levels of remating (14%) on the days following the first copulation were followed by a decline, with a significantly low point (4.1%) 2 weeks after mating. Subsequently, receptivity is gradually restored (18%) 3 and 4 weeks after the initial copulation. When females were first mated to sterile males, significantly higher remating percentages were recorded. The ability of sterile males to inhibit receptivity of both wild and laboratory reared females on the day of first mating was significantly improved when they were fed a nutrient rich diet. Male age at first mating also affected female receptivity: sterile males of intermediate age (11 days old) inhibited female remating significantly more than younger or older flies. Although further studies are needed to determine the relative roles of natural and sexual selection in modulating patterns of female sexual receptivity, the Sterile Insect Technique may be improved by releasing well nourished, older sterile males.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)637-642
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Ruti Akiva for technical help with the experiments and Inbar Shouster-Dagan of Bio-Fly, for providing the sterile males. Special thanks to Hilary Voet for patient statistical counseling. The research was supported by grants from The Israel Science Foundation and IAEA/FAO, and by STREP Project no. 506495 (CLEANFRUIT) within the sixth framework program of the European Commission.


  • Ceratitis
  • Mediterranean fruit fly
  • Polyandry
  • Sexual behavior
  • Sterile Insect Technique (SIT)


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