Parentage Assignment Using Microsatellites Reveals Multiple Mating in Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae): Implications for Mating Dynamics

J Med Entomol. 2022 Jun 23;tjac081. doi: 10.1093/jme/tjac081. Online ahead of print.


The mosquito Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of the dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya viruses. Evidence shows that Ae. aegypti males are polyandrous whereas Ae. aegypti females are monandrous in mating. However, the degree to which Ae. aegypti males and females can mate with different partners has not been rigorously tested. Therefore, this study examined the rates of polyandry via parentage assignment in three sets of competitive mating experiments using wild-type male and female Ae. aegypti. Parentage assignment was monitored using nine microsatellite DNA markers. All Ae. aegypti offspring were successfully assigned to parents with 80% or 95% confidence using CERVUS software. The results showed that both male and female Ae. aegypti mated with up to 3-4 different partners. Adults contributed differentially to the emergent offspring, with reproductive outputs ranging from 1 to 25 viable progeny. This study demonstrates a new perspective on the capabilities of male and female Ae. aegypti in mating. These findings are significant because successful deployment of reproductive control methods using genetic modification or sterile Ae. aegypti must consider the following criteria regarding their mating fitness: 1) choosing Ae. aegypti males that can mate with many different females; 2) testing how transformed Ae. aegypti male perform with polyandrous females; and 3) prioritizing the selection of polyandrous males and/or females Ae. aegypti that have the most offspring.

Keywords: Aedes aegypti; CERVUS; Malaysia; mating behavior; microsatellite.