Regulation of Oviposition in Anopheles gambiae s.s.: Role of Inter- and Intra-Specific Signals
Sumba, L. A.
Ogbunugafor, C. B.
Deng, A. L.
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Females of Anopheles gambiae Giles normally oviposit in a large number of fresh, small, sunlit, and spatially spread temporary pools. Such pools are associated with lower levels of predation compared to large, longer-lasting habitats. We compared oviposition levels on preferred (water collected from natural anopheline larval habitats) and non-preferred (distilled water) aqueous substrates by gravid females that contained different densities of conspecific eggs or early and late instar larvae. The presence of conspecific larvae, but not eggs, had a positive or negative effect on the ovipositional responses of gravid An. gambiae females, depending on the quality (preferred or non-preferred by the mosquito) of the oviposition water and the density of larvae. Presence of larvae, at all densities, in distilled water deterred oviposition. However, in natural anopheline pool water, a low density of larvae increased oviposition, whereas a higher density inhibited oviposition. Our results suggest that two signals produced by this mosquito may be involved in regulating oviposition: a volatile pheromone emitted by conspecific larvae, which augments the effect of a volatile signal emitted by preferred habitats, and a non-olfactory cue associated with high densities of larvae that deters oviposition.