Larval environment influences vector competence of the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Antoine Barreaux, Priscille Barreaux, Kevin Thievent, Jacob C Koella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

62 Downloads (Pure)


While environmental factors such as temperature can influence the vector competence of mosquitoes directly, for example by affecting the longevity of the mosquito and the development of the malaria parasite they may also have an indirect impact on the parasite’s transmission. By influencing larval development, they may affect the adult traits that are important for the parasite’s development and transmission. We studied the influence of two larval environmental factors, food availability and temperature, on the probability that mosquitoes infected with the malaria parasite survived to harbour sporozoites in their salivary glands. Anopheles gambiae larvae were reared at 21oC, 25oC or 29oC, and fed either a standard larval diet or half of it. Adults could blood feed on mice harbouring the infectious gametocytic stage of Plasmodium berghei ANKA transformed with green fluorescent protein (GFP). Survival was assessed every 24 hrs up to 21 days post infection, when surviving mosquitoes were dissected to check the salivary glands for sporozoites with a fluorescent microscope sensitive to GFP. Using a binomial GLM we analysed ‘vector competence’, i.e. if mosquitoes survived until dissection and harboured sporozoites in their salivary glands. Vector competence dropped by about a third if we fed larvae half the standard food regime. The effect of temperature during the larval period depended strongly on the food regime. At low food, increasing temperature from 21oC to 29oC increased vector competence from about 0.18 to 0.48, whereas at standard food, vector competence dropped from about 0.67 at 21oC to 0.56 at 29oC. Thus, perceptions and models about the role of environmental change on the transmission of malaria should include how the environment changes adult life-history by influencing larval development.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberMWJ2016
Number of pages6
JournalMalariaWorld Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2016


  • vector competence
  • Mosquito
  • Life history
  • environment
  • larval environment
  • infectious disease


Dive into the research topics of 'Larval environment influences vector competence of the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this