Background. A previous study showed for Anopheles gambiae s.s. a gradation of feeding preference on common plant species growing in a malaria holoendemic area in western Kenya. The present follow-up study determines whether there is a relationship between the mosquito's preferences and its survival and fecundity. Methods. Groups of mosquitoes were separately given ad libitum opportunity to feed on five of the more preferred plant species (Hamelia patens, Parthenium hysterophorus, Ricinus communis, Senna didymobotrya, and Tecoma stans) and one of the less preferred species (Lantana camara). The mosquitoes were monitored daily for survival. Sugar solution (glucose 6%) and water were used as controls. In addition, the fecundity of mosquitoes on each plant after (i) only one blood meal (number of eggs oviposited), and (ii) after three consecutive blood meals (proportion of females ovipositing, number of eggs oviposited and hatchability of eggs), was determined. The composition and concentration of sugar in the fed-on parts of each plant species were determined using gas chromatography. Using SAS statistical package, tests for significant difference of the fitness values between mosquitoes exposed to different plant species were conducted. Results and Conclusion. Anopheles gambiae that had fed on four of the five more preferred plant species (T. stans, S. didymobotrya, R. communis and H. patens, but not P. hysterophorus) lived longer and laid more eggs after one blood meal, when compared with An. gambiae that had fed on the least preferred plant species L. camara. When given three consecutive blood-meals, the percentage of females that oviposited, but not the number of eggs laid, was significantly higher for mosquitoes that had previously fed on the four more preferred plant species. Total sugar concentration in the preferred plant parts was significantly correlated with survival and with the proportion of females that laid eggs. This effect was associated mainly with three sugar types, namely glucose, fructose, and gulose. Except for P. hysterophorus, the results suggest that feeding by mosquitoes on preferred plant species under natural conditions results in higher fitness-related benefits, and that the sugar content in preferred plant parts is largely responsible for these effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases