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Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 25;7:46674. doi: 10.1038/srep46674.

Insecticide-induced leg loss does not eliminate biting and reproduction in Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes.

Author information

1
Department of Vector Biology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK.
2
Malaria Programme, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK.

Abstract

Recent successes in malaria control have been largely attributable to the deployment of insecticide-based vector control tools such as bed nets and indoor residual spraying. Pyrethroid-treated bed nets are acutely neurotoxic to mosquitoes, inducing symptoms such as loss of coordination, paralysis, and violent spasms. One result of pyrethroid exposure often seen in laboratory tests is mosquito leg loss, a condition that has thus far been assumed to equate to mortality, as females are not expected to blood feed. However, whilst limb loss is unlikely to be adaptive, females with missing limbs may play a role in the propagation of both their species and pathogens. To test the hypothesis that leg loss inhibits mosquitoes from biting and reproducing, mosquitoes with one, two, or six legs were evaluated for their success in feeding upon a human. These experiments demonstrated that insecticide-induced leg loss had no significant effect upon blood feeding or egg laying success. We conclude that studies of pyrethroid efficacy should not discount mosquitoes that survive insecticide exposure with fewer than six legs, as they may still be capable of biting humans, reproducing, and contributing to malaria transmission.

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