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J Exp Biol. 2018 Jan 29. pii: jeb.174433. doi: 10.1242/jeb.174433. [Epub ahead of print]

Distinct physiological, biochemical and morphometric adjustments in the malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae and An. coluzzii as means to survive to dry season conditions in Burkina Faso.

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Université de Rennes 1, UMR CNRS 6553 Ecobio, Campus de Beaulieu, 263 Avenue du General Leclerc, CS 74205 35042 Rennes Cedex, France
INRA UR370 QuaPA, MASS Group, 63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France.
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UMR IRD 224-CNRS 5290-Université de Montpellier 1-Université de Montpellier 2 MIVEGEC, 911 Avenue Agropolis, BP 64501, 34394 Montpellier cedex 5, France.
UMR 7618 Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris, Department of Sensory Ecology, Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), 4 Place Jussieu, Tour 44-45, 3ème étage, 75005 Paris, France.
Université de Rennes 1, UMR CNRS 6552 Ethologie animale et humaine, Campus de Beaulieu, 263 Avenue du General Leclerc, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France.
Université de Rennes 1, UMR CNRS 6553 Ecobio, Campus de Beaulieu, 263 Avenue du General Leclerc, CS 74205 35042 Rennes Cedex, France.
Institut Universitaire de France, 1 rue Descartes, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France.
Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS), Direction Régionale de l'Ouest (DRO), 399 Avenue de la Liberté, 01 BP 545, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.


Aestivation and dispersive migration are the two strategies evoked in literature to explain the way by which malaria vectors, Anopheles coluzzii and An. gambiae, survive the harsh climatic conditions of the dry season in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the physiological mechanisms regulating these two strategies are unknown. Here, mosquito species were submitted to controlled environmental parameters mimicking the rainy and dry seasons conditions of south-western Burkina Faso. Survival strategies were studied through morphometric (wing length), ecophysiological (respiratory gas exchanges), biochemical (cuticular hydrocarbons composition) and molecular (AKH mRNA expression levels) parameters of which variations are classically considered as hallmarks of aestivation and dispersion mechanisms in various insects. Our results showed that ecophysiological and morphometric adjustments are put in place in both species to prevent water losses during the dry season. However, the classical metabolic rate modifications expected as signatures of aestivation and migration were not evidenced here, highlighting specific and original physiological mechanisms sustaining survival in malaria mosquitoes during the dry season. Differences in epicuticular hydrocarbons composition and AKH levels of expression were found between the permanent and temporary An. coluzzii populations, illustrating the great phenotypic plasticity of this mosquito species. Altogether, our work underlines the diverse and complex pattern of changes occurring in the two mosquito species and at the population level to cope with the dry season and highlights potential targets of future control tools.


Adipokinetic hormone (AKH); Aestivation; Cuticular hydrocarbons; Metabolic rate; Migration

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