Female Mediterranean fruit flies, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann), from the sterile-male rearing facility in El Pino, Guatemala, were exposed to broadcasts of wing-fanning vibrations recorded from males engaged in calling behavior to investigate the feasibility of developing a female-selective acoustic trap. The recorded signals had frequent amplitude fluctuations and peak frequencies ≈350 Hz, typical of signals observed in previous studies of Mediterranean fruit fly acoustic behavior. Females did not exhibit long-distance phonotaxis, but remained near a speaker significantly longer when the sounds were broadcast at 103–107 dB than when the speaker was silent. In addition, significantly higher percentages of females were captured by yellow adhesive traps next to a broadcasting speaker than by traps next to a silent mimic. Additional bioassays were conducted with synthetic, 350-Hz tones produced by a thermoacoustic tube as well as with silent mimics of the different sound sources to examine the relative responsiveness of female Mediterranean fruit flies to traps with different acoustic and visual features. The visual attributes of the different sound source assemblies significantly affected capture rates. The range over which the broadcast significantly increased the percentage of female captures was <0.5 m, which may limit the utility of these acoustic cues in large-scale trapping programs. However, the findings of this study do justify further testing of whether optimized short-range acoustic signals could be used to augment longer range pheromonal and visual cues to improve the efficacy of female-selective traps.
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Vol. 97 • No. 4