Malaria parasite development in mosquitoes

Annu Rev Entomol. 1998;43:519-43. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.43.1.519.


Mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles transmit malaria parasites to humans. Anopheles mosquito species vary in their vector potential because of environmental conditions and factors affecting their abundance, blood-feeding behavior, survival, and ability to support malaria parasite development. In the complex life cycle of the parasite in female mosquitoes, a process termed sporogony, mosquitoes acquire gametocyte-stage parasites from blood-feeding on an infected host. The parasites carry out fertilization in the midgut, transform to ookinetes, then oocysts, which produce sporozoites. Sporozoites invade the salivary glands and are transmitted when the mosquito feeds on another host. Most individual mosquitoes that ingest gametocytes do not support development to the sporozoite stage. Bottle-necks occur at every stage of the cycle in the mosquito. Powerful new techniques and approaches exist for evaluating malaria parasite development and for identifying mechanisms regulating malaria parasite-vector interactions. This review focuses on those interactions that are important for the development of new approaches for evaluating and blocking transmission in nature.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / parasitology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors / parasitology*
  • Malaria / parasitology*
  • Malaria / prevention & control
  • Mosquito Control
  • Plasmodium* / growth & development
  • Plasmodium* / physiology