Assortative Mating in the Anopheles gambiae Species Complex
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The Anopheles (An.) gambiae species complex includes some of the most significant African malaria vectors, specifically An. gambiae sensu stricto (s.s.), An. coluzzii and An. arabiensis. These mosquitoes are currently primarily controlled via insecticides, but the emergence of insecticide resistance necessitates improved understanding of the mosquito vectors in order to develop novel control strategies. Mating in these mosquitoes occurs in swarms. However, members of the An. gambiae species complex exhibit geographic and behavioral differentiation, limiting the occurrence of multi-species mating swarms. Even in such swarms, hybridization rarely occurs. In this study, we attempt to determine the frequency of insemination and interspecific mating in mixed-species cages of An. arabiensis, An. coluzzii, and An. quadriannulatus. Our results demonstrate that swarm composition is not likely to influence female insemination (p>0.05). An. coluzzii females in mixed swarms showed a strong preference for same-species mating (p<0.05). An. quadriannulatus females were equally likely to be mated with conspecific or heterospecific males (p=0.1306), suggesting no preference for mating partner. Understanding the mating behaviors of these species could help aim vector control strategies and provide insight into other traits such as host seeking and host preference.
Tippelt, Sydney (2018). Assortative Mating in the Anopheles gambiae Species Complex. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from