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Observations on the swarming and mating behaviour of Anopheles funestus from southern Mozambique

BioMed Central
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Abstract ral ss BioMed CentMalaria Journal Open AcceResearch Observations on the swarming and mating behaviour of Anopheles funestus from southern Mozambique JD Charlwood*1, R Thompson2 and H Madsen1 Address: 1Danish Bilharziasis Laboratory, 1-D Jaergersborg Allé, DK2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark and 2Instituto Nacional de Saude, Ministry of Health, PO Box 264, Maputo, Mozambique Email: JD Charlwood* - [email protected]; R Thompson - [email protected]; H Madsen - [email protected] * Corresponding author Abstract Background: Control of malaria by the release of genetically modified mosquitoes refractory to transmission is now becoming a possibility. In many areas of Africa, Anopheles gambiae is found together with an equally important vector, An. funestus. Given their sympatry and the likelihood of a similar mating period some aspects of the mating behaviour of An. gambiae s.l. and An. funestus are likely to differ. We therefore attempted to characterise the swarming behaviour of An. funestus and to determine if any aspects of the observed behaviour differed from that recorded for the M form of An. gambiae from São Tomé. Methods: In March – May 2002 the swarming, mating, house exiting and resting behaviour of Anopheles funestus was studied by direct observation in Mozambique. Swarming males and insects in copula were collected by sweep net. Wing lengths of males collected resting, exiting houses, swarming and mating were measured and the wingbeat frequency distribution of individual insects, in free flight confined inside netting covered paper cups, was also determined. Results: Mono-specific swarms occurred at sunset in relatively open areas close to houses used for resting. Mating pairs were seen 11 ± 3.7 min after the start of swarming. The number of total pairs observed being inversely proportional to the time difference between the start of swarming and the first pairing. The great majority of females mated before feeding. Male or female size did not app

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