Feeding and survival of the malaria vector gambiae on plants growing in Kenya

D. E. Impoinvil, J. O. Kongere, W. A. Foster, B. N. Njiru, G. F. Killeen, J. I. Githure, J. C. Beier, A. Hassanali, B. G.J. Knols

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78 Scopus citations


The propensity of the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae Giles (Diptera: Culicidae) to ingest sugars from various plants, and subsequent survival rates, were assessed with laboratory-reared males and females offered eight species of plants commonly cultivated and/or growing wild in western Kenya. In cages (no-choice bioassay), mosquitoes given the opportunity to feed on castorbean (Ricinus communis L.) had the longest survival times (mean and median survival time of 6.99 ± 0.23 and 5.67 ± 0.17 days, respectively), comparable to mosquitoes given 6% glucose (mean and median survival time of 8.70 ± 0.23 and 6.67 ± 0.33 days, respectively). Survival rates of An. gambiae were low on the other plants, comparable to mosquitoes given only water. Three plants: sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.), wild sage (Lantana camara L.) and castorbean provided levels of sugar ingestion by both sexes of An. gambiae detectable using the cold anthrone method, showing a positive correlation between median survival and sugar consumption (Spearman rank correlation coefficient = 0.905, P < 0.0001). Equal numbers of males and females were released in an enclosed semi-field screenhouse system containing a range of local plants, but no host for blood, and allowed to feed ad libitum: 6.7 ± 0.5% (11/64) of those recaptured were found to contain detectable fructose (all females). Common plants are clearly a viable source of nutrition for adult female An. gambiae, as well as males, and may constitute and important resource for this important malaria vector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-115
Number of pages8
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Adult mosquito diet
  • Africa
  • Anopheles gambiae
  • Ipomoea batatas
  • Kenya
  • Lantana camara
  • Malaria vector
  • Mosquito survivorship
  • Ricinus communis
  • Sugar-feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • veterinary(all)


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