To explain how larval Anopheles arabiensis Patton feed effectively in the turbid water in which they frequently develop, we determined whether an extractable component of maize, Zea mays L., pollen enhances feeding by these mosquitoes. Maturing maize produces a copious amount of wind-borne pollen that is nutritious enough and produced over a sufficient period to support the development of at least one generation of anopheline mosquitoes. Larval An. arabiensis readily ingest the contents of maize pollen or the intact pollen grains themselves. An aqueous extract of maize pollen markedly accelerates the rate at which larval An. arabiensis ingest inert particles and strongly enhances the effectiveness of Bti against larval An. arabiensis. We conclude that the ability of larval anopheline mosquitoes to feed on maize pollen in turbid water is enhanced by the release from these pollen grains of a water-soluble phagostimulatory component (or components), which may be used to increase ingestion of microbial entomotoxins.
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Vol. 40 • No. 6