The extensive use of insecticides to control vector populations has lead to the widespread development of different mechanisms of insecticide resistance. Mutations that confer insecticide resistance are often associated to fitness costs that prevent them from spreading to fixation. In vectors, such fitness costs include reductions in preimaginal survival, adult size, longevity, and fecundity. The most commonly invoked explanation for the nature of such pleiotropic effects of insecticide resistance is the existence of resource-based trade-offs. According to this hypothesis, insecticide resistance would deplete the energetic stores of vectors, reducing the energy available for other biological functions and generating trade-offs between insecticide resistance and key life history traits. Here we test this hypothesis by quantifying the energetic resources (lipids, glycogen, and glucose) of larvae and adult females of the mosquito Culex pipiens L. resistant to insecticides through two different mechanisms: esterase overproduction and acetylcholinesterase modification. We find that, as expected from trade-off theory, insecticide resistant mosquitoes through the overproduction of esterases contain on average 30% less energetic reserves than their susceptible counterparts. Acetylcholinesterase-modified mosquitoes, however, also showed a significant reduction in energetic resources (20% less). We suggest that, in acetylcholinesterase-modified mosquitoes, resource depletion may not be the result of resource-based trade-offs but a consequence of the hyperactivation of the nervous system. We argue that these results not only provide a mechanistic explanation for the negative pleiotropic effects of insecticide resistance on mosquito life history traits but also can have a direct effect on the development of parasites that depend on the vector's energetic reserves to fulfil their own metabolic needs.
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