Most sand flies and mosquitoes require a bloodmeal for egg production, but when blood-sources are scarce, some of them can reproduce without it, so called facultative autogeny. The evolution of autogenous reproduction is thought to involve a trade-off between the benefit of reproducing in the absence of bloodmeal hosts versus the quantitative cost of reduced fecundity and/or or qualitative effect on reduced offspring development and survivorship. We blood-fed (BF) some Phlebotomous papatasi (Scopoli) sand fly females on mice while keeping others (from the same cohort) not BF. We then compared the fecundity of BF and non-blood-fed (NBF) females and also evaluated their egg mass and hatching rate, larval development rate and survivorship, pupa mass and eclosion rates, and progeny fecundity. Among NBF females, only 55% became gravid and produced three times less mature oocytes than BF ones. Autogenous females laid 3.5 and 5.7 times fewer eggs in individual and multi-female bioassays, respectively. Egg mass and hatching rate were not affected by blood-feeding. Individual-larvae bioassays suggested reduced survival during larval stages in the autogenous group. In multi-larvae bioassays, overall and especially pupae survival was significantly reduced in the autogenous group. Development rate was slower and pupal mass was reduced in progeny from autogenous mothers. These effects were particularly apparent at high larval density. Mothers' blood-feeding history did not affect daughter's fecundity. Studies on the costs of autogeny provides insights on the evolution of blood feeding. Moreover, it also provides insights regarding potential implications of autogeny to the emergence of vector-borne diseases.
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Vol. 57 • No. 3