How anopheline mosquitoes persist through the long dry season in Africa remains a gap in our understanding of these malaria vectors. To span this period in locations such as the Sahelian zone of Mali, mosquitoes must either migrate to areas of permanent water, recolonize areas as they again become favorable, or survive in harsh conditions including high temperatures, low humidity, and an absence of surface water (required for breeding). Adult mosquitoes surviving through this season must dramatically extend their typical lifespan (averaging 2–3 weeks) to 7 months. Previous work has found evidence that the malaria mosquito An. coluzzii, survives over 200 days in the wild between rainy seasons in a presumed state of aestivation (hibernation), but this state has so far not been replicated in laboratory conditions. The inability to recapitulate aestivation in the lab hinders addressing key questions such as how this state is induced, how it affects malaria vector competence, and its impact on disease transmission.
Chromosomal inversion polymorphisms have special importance in the Anopheles gambiae complex of malaria vector mosquitoes, due to their role in local adaptation and range expansion. The study of inversions in natural populations is reliant on polytene chromosome analysis by expert cytogeneticists, a process that is limited by the rarity of trained specialists, low throughput, and restrictive sampling requirements.