Host seeking is an essential process in mosquito reproduction. Field releases of modified mosquitoes for population replacement rely on successful host seeking by female mosquitoes, but host-seeking ability is rarely tested in a realistic context. We tested the host-seeking ability of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes using a semi-field system. Females with different Wolbachia infection types (wMel-, wAlbB-infected, and uninfected) or from different origins (laboratory and field) were released at one end of a semi-field cage and recaptured as they landed on human experimenters 15 m away. Mosquitoes from each population were then identified with molecular tools or through minimal dusting with fluorescent powder. Wolbachia-infected and uninfected populations had similar average durations to landing and overall recapture proportions, as did laboratory and field-sourced Ae. aegypti. These results indicate that the host-seeking ability of mosquitoes is not negatively affected by Wolbachia infection or long-term laboratory maintenance. This method provides an approach to study the host-seeking ability of mosquitoes in a realistic setting, which will be useful when evaluating strains of mosquitoes that are planned for releases into the field to suppress arbovirus transmission.
Conflict of interest statement
Disclosure: The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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