The endogenous regulation of mosquito reproductive behavior

Experientia. 1990 Jul 15;46(7):660-70. doi: 10.1007/BF01939928.


Most female mosquitoes require a meal of blood that provides protein for egg maturation. For reproduction to occur, two behavioral sequences are essential. One is concerned with finding a host for the blood meal and the other in finding a site on which to lay the eggs that result. Stimuli from both hosts and oviposition sites initiate the reproductive behaviors of host-seeking and pre-oviposition, respectively, that are discussed in this review. After sensory receptors perceive these stimuli, the central nervous system must integrate the information and associate it with a biologically appropriate response. Host-seeking appears to be the default behavior, expressed whenever host stimuli are present. However, if the female is successful in locating a host and ingesting blood, subsequent host-seeking is inhibited when the meal distends the abdomen above a certain threshold. Host-seeking inhibition continues during egg development as a result of a humoral mechanism even after the blood volume has been reduced by digestion. At the time when eggs are maturing and host-seeking is inhibited, pre-oviposition behavior predominates if the central nervous system receives oviposition site stimuli. This behavior is also initiated by a humoral factor. Several physiological states, including insemination, age, and nutrition, can modulate both host-seeking and pre-oviposition behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Blood
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Culicidae / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Hemolymph / physiology
  • Oviposition
  • Reproduction
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance