Mosquito egg hunt: Many Culex species prefer alternatives to standing water

April 12, 2017

Annapolis, MD; April 7, 2017--The conventional wisdom about where many mosquitoes lay their eggs--in standing water--is not always wise. Research into a diverse group of mosquitoes shows that many, if not most, regularly lay their eggs on a variety of surfaces, and in a surprising location: above nearby water. The findings run counter to scientific generalizations about the mosquitoes' egg-laying habits and may complicate the work of researchers and mosquito control professionals.

In a study to be published next week in the Entomological Society of America's Journal of Medical Entomology, researchers at the University of Florida (UF) showed that several species of mosquitoes in the genus Culex, subgenus Melanoconion, lay their eggs on surfaces above standing water, contrary to the behavior of other Culex.

"Our findings show us that even the most classic paradigms in medical entomology need to be closely scrutinized," says Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena, Ph.D., assistant professor at the UF Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory and co-author of the study.

The mosquito species Culexpipiens, for instance, has been well studied due to its prominent role in transmission of human pathogens such as West Nile virus. The focus on Culexpipiens and related mosquitoes has resulted in an apparent over-generalization that laying of eggs as a "raft" on the surface of standing water is common across all Culex species. The UF researchers' examination of species in subgenus Melanoconion--along with a review of historical research on other Culex species--suggest that "the generalized floating egg raft strategy does not apply to the vast majority of Culex species," they write.

The mosquitoes egg-laying behaviors were studied with a laboratory setup in which female mosquitoes were placed in screened cages with dishes containing both standing water and partially submerged objects, such as a terra cotta or segments of mangrove roots. The researches then recorded where the mosquitoes laid their eggs. Surprisingly, most egg clusters were laid on surfaces of the terra cotta and roots, not on open water, as textbooks would have predicted.

Mosquito species in subgenus Melanoconion are known vectors of eastern equine encephalitis and Venezuelan equine encephalitis. A clearer understanding of their egg-laying habits will help mosquito control professionals better target them, though Burkett-Cadena says they may "find it challenging to reach their targets due to the odd oviposition of the mosquitoes."
-end-
"Oviposition Strategies of Florida Culex (Melanoconion) Mosquitoes," by Erik M. Blosser and Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena, will be published online on April 12 in the Journal of Medical Entomology. Journalists may request advance copies of the study via the contact below.

CONTACT: Joe Rominiecki, jrominiecki@entsoc.org, 301-731-4535 x3009

ABOUT: ESA is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has over 6,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, the Society stands ready as a non-partisan scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.

Journal of Medical Entomology publishes research related to all aspects of medical entomology and medical acarology, including the systematics and biology of insects, acarines, and other arthropods of public health and veterinary significance. For more information, visit https://academic.oup.com/jme, or visit http://www.insectscience.org to view the full portfolio of ESA journals and publications.

Entomological Society of America

Related Mosquitoes Articles from Brightsurf:

Mosquitoes' taste for blood traced to four types of neurons
The female mosquito has an amazing ability to detect blood using her syringe-like ''tongue.'' Now scientists have identified the neurons that give her blood-seeking powers.

Flies and mosquitoes beware, here comes the slingshot spider
Running into an unseen spiderweb in the woods can be scary enough, but what if you had to worry about a spiderweb - and the spider - being catapulted at you?

Study reveals how different mosquitoes respond to light and ti
In a new study, researchers found that night- versus day-biting species of mosquitoes are behaviorally attracted and repelled by different colors of light at different times of day.

Where are arctic mosquitoes most abundant in Greenland and why?
Bzz! It's mosquito season in Greenland. June and July is when Arctic mosquitoes (Aedes nigripes) are in peak abundance, buzzing about the tundra.

How mosquitoes got their taste for human blood and what it means for the future
To predict and help control the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses, it's important to know where and why certain mosquitoes got their taste for biting humans in the first place.

Parents twice as likely to be concerned about ticks than of mosquitoes
When it comes to bug bites, parents are twice as likely to be concerned about ticks as they are about mosquitoes transmitting disease, a new national poll finds.

Mosquitoes are drawn to flowers as much as people -- and now scientists know why
Despite their reputation as blood-suckers, mosquitoes actually spent most of their time drinking nectar from flowers.

Mosquitoes engineered to repel dengue virus
An international team of scientists has synthetically engineered mosquitoes that halt the transmission of the dengue virus.

Engineered mosquitoes cannot be infected with or transmit any dengue virus
Genetically engineered mosquitoes are resistant to multiple types of dengue virus (DENV), according to a study published Jan.

Researchers identify that mosquitoes can sense toxins through their legs
Researchers at LSTM have identified a completely new mechanism by which mosquitoes that carry malaria are becoming resistant to insecticide.

Read More: Mosquitoes News and Mosquitoes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.