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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2003 Nov-Dec;97(6):713-6.

Natural swarming behaviour of the molecular M form of Anopheles gambiae.

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Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé, Centre Muraz, B.P. 390, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.


In Anopheles gambiae, as in most species of mosquitoes, mating is initiated in flight. The males aggregate in aerial swarms and conspecific females individually fly to these swarms where they mate with males. In this study, we investigated the swarming behaviour of A. gambiae and conducted 2 surveys in the rice field area of the Vallée du Kou in Burkina Faso in 1999 and 2002. A high number of anopheline mosquitoes were observed in this area and both molecular M and S forms of A. gambiae were found in sympatry. Swarms formed a few minutes after sunset in different places and no obvious markers were associated with their occurrence. However, swarms occurred close to cow herds generally in open flat areas, 2-3 m above the ground. Overall, 2829 anopheline mosquitoes were collected from 21 swarms composed primarily of males. A few specimens of Culex quinquefasciatus were collected from 3 swarms. Although both molecular M and S forms were found in sympatry in the village, swarms were composed almost exclusively of the molecular M form. This suggests that there are alternative swarming habits for both molecular M and S forms of A. gambiae in nature.

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