Mosquitoes of various species mate in swarms comprised of tens of thousands of flying males. In this study, we examined Aedes aegypti swarming behavior and identified associated chemical cues. Novel evidence is provided that Ae. aegypti females aggregate by means of olfactory cues, such as aggregation pheromones. Isolation of Ae. aegypti aggregation pheromones was achieved by aeration of confined mosquitoes and collection of associated volatiles by glass filters. The collected volatiles were identified through gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS). Three aggregation pheromones were collected and identified as 2,6,6-trimethylcyclohex-2-ene-1,4-dione (ketoisophorone) (CAS# 1125-21-9, tR = 18.75), 2,2,6-trimethylcyclohexane-1,4-dione (the saturated analog of ketoisophorone) (CAS# 20547-99-3, tR = 20.05), and 1-(4-ethylphenyl) ethanone (CAS# 937-30-4, tR = 24.22). Our biological studies revealed that the identified compounds stimulated mosquito behavior under laboratory conditions. The mechanism of mosquito swarm formation is discussed in light of our behavioral study findings. A preliminary field trial demonstrated the potential application of the isolated aggregation pheromones in controlling Ae. Aegypti.
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Vol. 39 • No. 2