The body size of mosquitoes can influence a number of bionomic factors, such as their blood-feeding ability, host attack rate, and fecundity. All of these traits are important determinants of their potential to transmit diseases. Among abiotic and biotic factors, high temperature and low nutrition in the developing stages of mosquitoes generally result in small adults. We studied the relationship between body size and multiple feeding in a gonotrophic cycle and some fecundity attributes by using three strains of two competent vector species, Aedes aegypti (L.) and Aedes albopictus (Skuse). We raised small and large mosquitoes under low and high food conditions in the laboratory to measure parameters of fecundity and blood-feeding behavior. Fecundity was positively correlated with body size in both species, whereas the number of bloodmeals, the frequency of host-seeking behavior, and egg retention were negatively correlated with body size in the Ae. albopictus Nagasaki strain. We found that multiple feeding and host-seeking behavior were negatively correlated with body size, i.e., small mosquitoes tended to have more contact with hosts. We found that two mechanisms that inhibit engorged mosquitoes from seeking out hosts, distension-induced and oocyte-induced inhibition, were not strong enough to limit host-seeking behavior, and multiple feeding increased fecundity. Size-dependent multiple feeding and host-seeking behavior affect contact frequency with hosts and should be considered when predicting how changes in mosquito body size affect disease transmission.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4