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J Vector Ecol. 2004 Jun;29(1):140-53.

Flight performance of the malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles atroparvus.

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Zoologisches Institut der Universität Zürich, Winterthurerstr. 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland.


The flight potential and metabolism of two malaria vectors, Anopheles gambiae s.str. and An. atroparvus, were analyzed on flightmills. The flight distance, the flight time, and individual flight activities of females were recorded during 22 h flight trials. The glycogen and lipid before flight, after flight, and of unflown controls were measured for starved, sugar-, or blood-fed females. Maximal flight distances of An. gambiae were 9 km when sugar-fed and 10 km when blood-fed, while in starved females it was below 3 km and the average speed was around 1 km/h. In Anopheles atroparvus, the maximal flight distances were 10-12 km when sugar-fed, 4.5 km when blood-fed, and below 3.5 km when starved, with an average speed of 1.3 km/h. Flight performances consisted of 1-4 h intervals of continuous flights, but mainly of bouts shorter than one h, randomly distributed during the long flight trials in both species. An. gambiae utilized an average of 47% of its pre-flight carbohydrate reserves for survival and 38% for flight at a rate of 0.07 cal/h/female. After a blood meal they utilized 11% for survival and 61% for flight at a rate of 0.04 cal/h. At the same time, 25% of the pre-flight lipid was mobilized for flight at a rate of 0.09 cal/h when sugar-fed and 22% when blood-fed at a rate of 0.06 cal/h; lipid was barely mobilized for survival. An. atroparvus differed: carbohydrate mobilization was 28% for survival and 41% for flight at a rate of 0.15 cal/h when sugar-fed; lipid mobilization for flight was only 13% at a rate of 0.06 cal/h. After a blood meal only 2% of the pre-flight lipid was used (0.02 cal/h). The contribution of carbohydrate reserves for flight metabolism at the high rate of 0.21 cal/h could not be fully elucidated because its decrease coincided with a pronounced resynthesis from the blood meal. An. atroparvus always depended on sugar meals for its flight activities and barely utilized lipid reserves. An. gambiae was independent of sugar sources for strong flights due to its early blood feeding and because of its equicaloric lipid mobilization during flights. Strong evidence for lipid oxidation during its flight is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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