We used flow-through respirometry on female mosquitoes to observe individual ventilatory pattern and to measure metabolic rate at rest, during activity and after a blood-meal. At rest, young adult females of the species Culex tarsalis ventilated cyclically with an average VCO2 of 65 nl/min and frequency of 45 mHz. Both resting metabolic rate and body mass of females increased between emergence and 4 d, but only body mass continued to increase until 12 d. Mating status had no effect on the body mass or resting metabolic rate of the females. Both lipid and carbohydrate stores strongly increased during the first week of adult life, in particular between emergence and 4 d, in which lipid mass increased 8.3-fold and carbohydrate mass increased 3.6-fold. Hourly metabolic rate after a blood or sugar meal was measured over a 6-d period in two groups of 14 females. Sugar-fed mosquitoes remained calm during the day and had nocturnal increases in metabolic rate associated with flight activity. Blood feeding elicited a specific dynamic action lasting ≈55 h, at the peak of which metabolic rate of the blood-fed females was twice that of the sugar-fed group. Eggs were laid on the third night. The increase in metabolic rate presumably reflected the cost of blood digestion and egg production. The females were not active during digestion, so that although their metabolic rate was increased, the overall energy expenditure of the blood-fed group was not very different from that of the sugar-fed group.
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Vol. 40 • No. 6