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1 May 2013 The Dance of Male Anopheles gambiae in Wild Mating Swarms
Sachit Butail, Nicholas C. Manoukis, Moussa Diallo, José M. C. Ribeiro, Derek A. Paley
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An important element of mating in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae Giles in nature is the crepuscular mating aggregation (swarm) composed almost entirely of males, where most coupling and insemination is generally believed to occur. In this study, we mathematically characterize the oscillatory movement of male An. gambiae in terms of an established individual-based mechanistic model that parameterizes the attraction of a mosquito toward the center of the swarm using the natural frequency of oscillation and the resistance to its motion, characterized by the damping ratio. Using three-dimensional trajectory data of ten wild mosquito swarms filmed in Mali, Africa, we show two new results for low and moderate wind conditions, and indicate how these results may vary in high wind. First, we show that in low and moderate wind the vertical component of the mosquito motion has a lower frequency of oscillation and higher damping ratio than horizontal motion. In high wind, the vertical and horizontal motions are similar to one another and the natural frequencies are higher than in low and moderate wind. Second, we show that the predicted average disagreement in the direction of motion of swarming mosquitoes moving randomly is greater than the average disagreement we observed between each mosquito and its three closest neighbors, with the smallest level of disagreement occurring for the nearest neighbor in seven out of 10 swarms. The alignment of the direction of motion between nearest neighbors is the highest in high wind. This result provides evidence for flight-path coordination between swarming male mosquitoes.

© 2013 Entomological Society of America
Sachit Butail, Nicholas C. Manoukis, Moussa Diallo, José M. C. Ribeiro, and Derek A. Paley "The Dance of Male Anopheles gambiae in Wild Mating Swarms," Journal of Medical Entomology 50(3), 552-559, (1 May 2013).
Received: 6 November 2012; Accepted: 1 January 2013; Published: 1 May 2013

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