Before the release of genetically-modified or sterile male mosquitoes in an attempt to control local populations of malaria vectors, it is crucial to determine male traits involved in mating success. The effects of male size and age as determinants of male mating success in Anopheles gambiae s.s. were measured in the field and under laboratory conditions in Burkina Faso. First, the body sizes (estimated by wing length) of mating, swarming, and indoor-resting male mosquitoes were compared over a 3-yr period (2006–2009) from July to October in Soumousso and Vallée du Kou, two villages in western Burkina Faso. Second, the age structure of swarming and resting male mosquitoes were characterized based on the number of spermatocysts and the proportion of sperm in the reservoir of wild-caught male testis. Third, male age effects on the insemination rate of female An. gambiae were investigated in the laboratory. The mean size of males collected in copula was significantly larger than the mean for swarming males and indoor-resting males. The optimum male age for successful insemination of females was 4–8 d. These results suggest that male size is an important trait in determining male mating competitiveness in the field. Although age was not found to be a significant factor in mating competitiveness, it was significantly correlated with swarming behaviors in the field and insemination success in the laboratory. The implications of these results in terms of sexual selection in An. gambiae and vector control programs are further discussed.
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Vol. 50 • No. 2