Bulletin of Entomological Research

Original Articles

The relationship of host size to feeding by mosquitoes of the Anopheles gambiae Giles complex (Diptera: Culicidae)

G. R. Porta1 c1, P. F. L. Borehama1 p1 and Joan H. Bryana2

a1 Department of Zoology and Applied Entomology, Imperial College of Science & Techonology, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK

a2 Medical Research Council Laboratories, Fajara, P.O. Box 273, Banjul, The Gamdia

Abstract

Attention has recently been focussed on the problem of why mosquitoes feed on some people more than others. In this paper, investigations of selective feeding by mosquitoes of the Anopheles gambiae Giles complex conducted in two villages in the Gambia are reported. Fed mosquitoes were collected from the bed nets of 35 groups of people who normally sleep together, for example mothers and infants or two children or two adults. A total of 2339 meals was analysed using haptoglobin or ABO typing to determine from which individual each meal had been obtained. The results showed that the proportion of feeds upon an individual in a group can be associated with the proportion of the total surface area or weight of the group contributed by that individual. The incidence of multiple feeding was between 3 and 6%. The results are discussed in relation to host selection by mosquitoes and their significance for models of malaria epidemiology.

(Received May 22 1979)

Correspondence:

c1 Address for correspondence: Department of Zoology and Applied Entomology, Imperial College Field Station, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berks. SL5 7PY, UK

p1 Current address: Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Bramston Terrace, Herston, Brisbane, Australia 4006.