Fluorescent dyes: new insights on visibility, persistence and impacts on Q-fly quality

Congratulations to Dr Humayra Akter and her coauthors for recently publishing the following paper in the Journal of Economic Entomology!

Read the publication.

"Visibility and persistence of fluorescent dyes, and impacts on emergence, quality, and survival of sterile Queensland fruit fly Bactrocera tryoni (Diptera: Tephritidae)"

Humayra Akter, Phillip W. Taylor & Peter Crisp


Tephritid flies released in sterile insect technique pest management programs are usually marked with fluorescent dyes so that they can be distinguished from wild flies in monitoring traps. Dyes can have adverse effects on emergence, quality, and survival, which can impact sterile insect technique (SIT) success, and so it is important to identify dyes and doses that maximize marking efficacy while minimizing deleterious effects on fly quality. This study examines the effects of five fluorescent dye products, Fluoro Pink, Fluoro Orange, Stella Green, Arc Chrome, and Astral Pink applied at four dose levels (1, 2, 3, and 4 g/liter) on Queensland fruit fly. All dye products caused a similar dose-dependent reduction in percentage of adult emergence. Incidence of morphological deformity of emerged adults increased with dose, and this trend was similar for all dye products. No effects of dye product or dose were found on survival rates over the first 35 d of adulthood, although females tended to have higher survival than males. Visibility varied with dose and dye product; 1 g/liter dye was less visible than 2, 3, or 4 g/liter, and Stella green had lower visibility than other dyes. All of the tested dyes except for Stella green were similar in all assessed metrics of fly performance and are recommended for use in SIT programs.

Photo: Dr Humayra Akter, Research Entomologist at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). Humayra is involved in fruit fly sterile insect technique projects and is now developing a cryopreservation technique for the Queensland fruit fly.