Effect of larval crowding on mating competitiveness of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The success of sterile or transgenic Anopheles for malaria control depends on their mating competitiveness within wild populations. Current evidence suggests that transgenic mosquitoes have reduced fitness. One means of compensating for this fitness deficit would be to identify environmental conditions that increase their mating competitiveness, and incorporate them into laboratory rearing regimes. Methods: Anopheles gambiae larvae were allocated to three crowding treatments with the same food input per larva. Emerged males were competed against one another for access to females, and their corresponding longevity and energetic reserves measured. Results: Males from the low-crowding treatment were much more likely to acquire the first mating. They won the first female approximately 11 times more often than those from the high-crowding treatment (Odds ratio = 11.17) and four times more often than those from the medium-crowding treatment (Odds ratio = 3.51). However, there was no overall difference in the total number of matings acquired by males from different treatments (p = 0.08). The survival of males from the low crowding treatment was lower than those from other treatments. The body size and teneral reserves of adult males did not differ between crowding treatments, but larger males were more likely to acquire mates than small individuals. Conclusion: Larval crowding and body size have strong, independent effects on the mating competitiveness of adult male An. gambiae. Thus manipulation of larval crowding during mass rearing could provide a simple technique for boosting the competitiveness of sterile or transgenic male mosquitoes prior to release
Original languageEnglish
Article number49
Number of pages9
JournalMalaria Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • genetically-modified mosquitos
  • aedes-aegypti diptera
  • treated bed nets
  • western kenya
  • adult size
  • malaria transmission
  • transgenic mosquitos
  • wing length
  • insecticide resistance
  • swarming behavior

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of larval crowding on mating competitiveness of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this