In nature, Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes are found at various energy levels and such females must choose between seeking somatic energy from sugar sources and obtaining both somatic and gametic energy from blood hosts. We used a straight-tube olfactometer containing a simulated unobtainable blood host (human foot smell protected by a net) as well as a sugar source (honey odor). We assessed female probing rate and residence time at the net as a function of energy state (0, 24, 48, 72-h starved). In our trials, 0-h starved females showed low response to human odor, low probing rate, and residence time at the human odor site. By contrast, both 48 and 72-h individuals showed high response to foot odor, longer residence time, and higher probing rates. Seventy-two-h females also flew towards the honey source less often than other groups. Our findings suggest that managing sugar sources might be a viable strategy for influencing mosquito biting behavior.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1