Several studies have examined how climatic variables such as temperature and precipitation may affect life history traits in mosquitoes that are important to disease transmission. Despite its importance as a seasonal cue in nature, studies investigating the influence of photoperiod on such traits are relatively few. This study aims to investigate how photoperiod alters life history traits, survival, and blood-feeding activity in Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus). We performed three experiments that tested the effects of day length on female survival, development time, adult size, fecundity, adult life span, and propensity to blood feed in Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti. Each experiment had three photoperiod treatments: 1) short-day (10L:14D), 2) control (12L:12D), and 3) long-day (14L:10D). Aedes albopictus adult females were consistently larger in size when reared in short-day conditions. Aedes aegypti adult females from short-day treatments lived longer and were more likely to take a blood meal compared to other treatments. We discuss how species-specific responses may reflect alternative strategies evolved to increase survival during unfavorable conditions. We review the potential impacts of these responses on seasonal transmission patterns, such as potentially increasing vectorial capacity of Ae. aegypti during periods of shorter day lengths.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1