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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Strain-speccific differences in mating, oviposition, and host-seeking behavior between Wolbachia-infected and uninfected Aedes albopictus

item Wiwatanaratanabutr, Supat
item Allan, Sandra - Sandy
item Linthicum, Kenneth - Ken
item Kittayapong, Pattamaporn

Submitted to: Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/14/2010
Publication Date: 9/1/2010
Citation: Wiwatanaratanabutr, S., Kittayapong, P., Allan, S.A., Linthicum, K. 2010. Strain-speccific differences in mating, oviposition, and host-seeking behavior between Wolbachia-infected and uninfected Aedes albopictus. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. 26(3):265-273.

Interpretive Summary: The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is a relatively new introduced vector species that had spread over much of Southeastern and Midwestern United States. The role of this species as a potential vector for dengue and yellow fever along with its documented involvement with West Nile virus and other encephalitis that affect livestock and other vertebrates indicates the importance of effective control strategies. In this study conducted at USDA's Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) in Gainesville (Florida), the impact of the presence and absence of a natural infection with a bacterial symbiont (Wolbachia) was investigated on the behavior of Ae. albopictus. This organism is considered a potential driver for delivery of genetic modifications to natural mosquito populations. In our studies, Wolbachia infection clearly enhanced mating behavior but had no clear differences on oviposition behavior.

Technical Abstract: Wolbachia are maternally inherited bacteria that cause various reproductive alterations in their arthropod hosts including cytoplasmic incompatibility. In this study, we compared mating, oviposition and host-seeking behaviors of Wolbachia-infected [Houston (HOU), Gainesville (GNV)] and Houston uninfected (HT1) Aedes albopictus. In mating assays with virgin mosquitoes, mating success of Wolbachia-infected males was significantly higher than uninfected strains. Mating success was highest with HOU males exposed to infected (95%) and uninfected females (100%) and lowest with HT1 males exposed to infected (20%) and uninfected (25%) females. Results suggested that Wolbachia infection may influence the reproductive behavior of this mosquito. There were no clear differences in oviposition responses between strains with all strains ovipositing significantly more often on hay infusion and larval rearing water than on water controls and least frequently on 4-methylphenol. Strains of Ae. albopictus females host-seek a human when given a choice. Responses to a human arm, acetone, CO2 and dichloromethane were generally higher from Houston strains than from the GNV strain. Responses of HOU and HT1 females differed from GNV with greater responses to the arm and CO2.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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