Evol Ecol Res 10: 1111-1130 (2008)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

The role of resource availability and state-dependence in the foraging strategy of blood-feeding mosquitoes

Brian O. Ma and Bernard D. Roitberg

Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

Correspondence: B.O. Ma, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada.
e-mail: bom@sfu.ca


Background: Blood-feeding female mosquitoes are omnivores that face trade-offs and constraints between taking blood meals, sugar meals, and ovipositing their eggs.

Questions: (1) How does a mosquito allocate her time and energy to blood and sugar feeding? (2) How does the availability of sugar and/or blood influence her decisions?

Methods and key assumptions: We use a dynamic state variable model to address this question. The model is parameterized from primary literature using Anopheles gambiae for reference where possible. The model assumes that female mosquitoes have evolved to make decisions that maximize their lifetime reproductive success.

Conclusions: Blood and sugar have important roles in the life history of blood-feeding female mosquitoes. In the presence of blood hosts, the decision to search for a blood meal is almost always chosen over the search for sugar. However, away from the blood host microhabitat, sugar is readily used. Survivorship and fecundity are increased with an increase in sugar availability. Frequency of blood feeding, mosquito fecundity, and survivorship are only marginally decreased with decreases in blood availability.

Keywords: Aedes aegypti, Anopheles gambiae, dynamic state variable model, foraging behaviour, mosquitoes, omnivores, resource availability, state-dependence, vector-borne disease control.

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