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J Insect Physiol. 2006 Jan;52(1):67-75. Epub 2005 Oct 25.

Comparative study on the relationship between photoperiodic host-seeking behavioral patterns and the eye parameters of mosquitoes.

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Department of Vector Ecology & Environment, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Nagasaki, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan.


Relationships between the ommatidial structure and photoperiodic behavior of several mosquito species were investigated. Host-seeking behavioral patterns of mosquitoes were classified into four main groups based on previously compiled reports on field or laboratory biting activity. These groups were pattern I and I' (nocturnal), pattern II (crepuscular and nocturnal), pattern III (crepuscular and diurnal), and pattern IV (diurnal). Eye parameters (product of facet diameter and interommatidial angle) of mosquitoes that belong to the pattern I and I' group were higher (2.7-4.2) than those of mosquitoes that belong to the pattern IV group (0.8-2.3). Eye parameters of the mosquitoes categorized in the pattern II and III groups were intermediate (2.3-2.6). These results suggest that the crepuscular behavior of mosquitoes undergoes a transition in the course of evolution from nocturnal behavior to diurnal behavior. Large variations in the eye parameters were observed even within the same genus depending on their photoperiodic behavior. Therefore, the ommatidial structure of mosquitoes appears to be determined, not taxonomically, but evolutionarily by the photoenvironment in which the mosquitoes are most active.

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