The Distribution of Certain Liquids in the Esophageal Diverticula and Stomach of Mosquitoes

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  • National Institutes of Health, Bethesda 14, Maryland
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There is general agreement among investigators as to the way in which mosquitoes feed, but a divergence of opinion as to whether the distribution of a liquid in the alimentary canal depends on the manner of feeding, the kind of liquid ingested, or on a combination of both.

Experiments were performed on four species of Anopheles, four Aedes, and on Culex pipiens, to more thoroughly investigate this controversial subject.

Whole blood was fed by allowing the mosquitoes to bite, and to imbibe from saturated cellucotton; glucose solutions were fed from cellucotton and through membranes; and mixtures of whole blood and sugary solutions were fed through membranes.

Under all conditions, blood was dispatched primarily to the stomach, and with few exceptions, in smaller amounts to the diverticula. The proportion of mosquitoes showing blood in the diverticula appeared to be a distinguishing physiological characteristic of the species, and ranged from less than 11 per cent in Aedes albopictus to over 70 per cent in Anopheles quadrimaculatus.

Glucose solutions, regardless of species or manner of feeding, were found primarily but not exclusively in the diverticula. When mixtures of blood and honey were fed through membranes to Aedes aegypti, they went primarily to the stomachs, with traces found occasionally in the diverticula.

Author Notes

Laboratory of Tropical Diseases, National Microbiological Institute.