Malaria is still a heavy public health concern in Madagascar. Few studies combining parasitology and entomology have been conducted despite the need for accurate information to design effective vector control measures. In a Malagasy region of moderate to intense transmission of both Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax, parasitology and entomology have been combined to survey malaria transmission in two nearby villages.
Accumulating behavioural data indicate that aggregation pheromones may mediate the formation and maintenance of mosquito swarms. However, chemical cues possibly luring mosquitoes to swarms have not been adequately investigated, and the likely molecular incitants of these complex reproductive behaviours remain unknown. Here we show that males of the important malaria vector species Anopheles arabiensis and An. gambiae produce and release aggregation pheromones that attract individuals to the swarm and enhance mating success.
In the West African Sahel, mosquito reproduction is halted during the 5–7 month-long dry season, due to the absence of surface waters required for larval development. However, recent studies have suggested that both Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (s.s.) and Anopheles arabiensis repopulate this region via migration from distant locations where larval sites are perennial. Anopheles coluzzii engages in more regional migration, presumably within the Sahel, following shifting resources correlating with the ever-changing patterns of Sahelian rainfall. Understanding mosquito migration is key to controlling malaria—a disease that continues to claim more than 400,000 lives annually, especially those of African children. Using tethered flight data of wild mosquitoes, the distribution of flight parameters were evaluated as indicators of long-range migrants versus appetitive flyers, and the species specific seasonal differences and gonotrophic states compared between two flight activity modalities. Morphometrical differences were evaluated in the wings of mosquitoes exhibiting high flight activity (HFA) vs. low flight activity (LFA).