A reliable morphological method to assess the age of male Anopheles gambiae

B.J. Huho, K.R. Ng'habi, G.F. Killeen, G. Nkwengulila, B.G.J. Knols, H.M. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background - Release of genetically-modified (GM) or sterile male mosquitoes for malaria control is hampered by inability to assess the age and mating history of free-living male Anopheles. Methods - Age and mating-related changes in the reproductive system of male Anopheles gambiae were quantified and used to fit predictive statistical models. These models, based on numbers of spermatocysts, relative size of sperm reservoir and presence/absence of a clear area around the accessory gland, were evaluated using an independent sample of mosquitoes whose status was blinded during the experiment. Results - The number of spermatocysts in male testes decreased with age, and the relative size of their sperm reservoir increased. The presence of a clear area around accessory glands was also linked to age and mating status. A quantitative model was able to categorize males from the blind trial into age groups of young (¿ 4 days) and old (> 4 days) with an overall efficiency of 89%. Using the parameters of this model, a simple table was compiled that can be used to predict male age. In contrast, mating history could not be reliably assessed as virgins could not be distinguished from mated males
Original languageEnglish
Article number62
Number of pages11
JournalMalaria Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • plasmodium-falciparum
  • chloroquine resistance
  • transgenic mosquitos
  • reproductive-system
  • population ecology
  • malaria parasite
  • southern african
  • temporal changes
  • diptera
  • culicifacies


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