Distinct developmental patterns in Anopheles stephensi organ systems

Dev Biol. 2024 Apr:508:107-122. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2024.01.008. Epub 2024 Jan 23.


Anatomical profiles of insects inform vector biology, comparative development and evolutionary studies with applications in forensics, agriculture and disease control. This study presents a comprehensive, high-resolution developmental profile of Anopheles stephensi, encompassing larval, pupal, and adult stages, obtained through microCT scanning. The results indicate in situ anatomical changes in most organ systems, including the central nervous system, eyes, musculature, alimentary canal, salivary glands, and ovaries, among other organ systems, except for the developing heart. We find significant differences in the mosquito gut, body-wall, and flight muscle development during metamorphosis from other dipterans like Drosophila. Specifically, indirect flight muscle specification and growth can be traced back at least to the 4th instar A. stephensi larvae, as opposed to post-puparial development in other Dipterans like Drosophila and Calliphora. Further, while Drosophila larval body-wall muscles and gut undergo histolysis, changes to these organs during mosquito metamorphosis are less pronounced. These observations, and raw data therein may serve as a reference for studies on the development and the genetics of mosquitoes. Overall, the detailed developmental profile of A. stephensi presented here illuminates the unique anatomy and developmental processes of Culicidae, with important implications for vector biology, disease control, and comparative evolutionary studies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles* / genetics
  • Drosophila
  • Larva / physiology
  • Mosquito Vectors