Roch K. Dabiré, Nelius Venter, Dieudonné D. Soma, Nanwintoun S. Bimbile-Somda, Georges A. Ouédraogo, Hanano Yamada, Jeremie R. L. Gilles, Adel B. Ali, Rosemary S. Lees, Florence Fournet, Hamidou Maïga, Abdoulaye Diabaté, Wadaka Mamai
The success of the sterile insect technique depends, among other things, on continuous releases of sexually competitive sterile males within the target area. Several factors (including high rearing density and physical manipulation, such as larvae and pupae separation) can influence the quality of males produced in mass-rearing facilities. The different steps in mass production in the laboratory may modify the behaviour of mosquitoes, directly or through loss of natural characters as a result of adaptation to lab rearing, and lead to the competitiveness of sterile male being reduced. In the present study, the objective was to evaluate the effect of mass-rearing conditions on sterile male sexual competitiveness in semi-field cages compared to routine small scale laboratory rearing methods.
Anopheles arabiensis immature stages were reared both on a large scale using a rack and tray system developed by the FAO/IAEA (MRS), and on a small scale using standard laboratory rearing trays (SRS). Mosquito life history traits such as pupation rate, emergence rate, adult size as well as the effect of irradiation on adult longevity were evaluated. Moreover, 5–6 day old mosquitoes were released into field cages and left for two nights to mate and the mating competitiveness between sterile mass-reared males and fertile males reared on a small scale when competing for small scale reared virgin females was investigated. Resulting fertility in a treatment ratio of 1:1:1 (100 irradiated males: 100 non-irradiated males: 100 virgin females) was compared to control cages with 0:100:100 (non-irradiated control) and 100:0:100 (irradiated control). No significant differences in life history parameters were observed between rearing methods. The competitiveness index of mass reared males (0.58) was similar to males reared on a small scale (0.59). A residual fertility rate of 20% was observed in the irradiated control (100:0:100), measured as the percentage of eggs collected from the cages which developed to adulthood. No significant difference was observed (t = 0.2896, df = 4, P = 0.7865) between the rearing treatments (MRS and SRS) in the fertility rate, a measure of mating competitiveness. The results showed that the FAO/IAEA mass-rearing process did not affect mosquito life history parameters or the mating competitiveness of males.