Blood Meal Size as a Factor Affecting Continued Host-Seeking by Aedes Aegypti (L.)

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  • Department of Entomology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602

The effect of ingested blood on the host-seeking response of two strains of Aedes aegypti was examined. Using an olfactometer, females fed partial blood meals were scored for host-seeking behavior within 1 h, and their blood meal sizes were measured chemically immediately afterwards. The suppression of host-seeking within 1 h after a blood meal appears to be caused by abdominal distention from ingested blood. Mosquitoes of either strain were attracted to a host when the blood meal size was less than 2.5 µl; above this threshold there was a sharp decline in the tendency to respond. Small mosquitoes resulting from a low larval diet had a lower threshold, and were more likely to cease host-seeking after a small blood meal. Multiple feeding within a single gonotrophic cycle may result if mosquitoes take small blood meals which are insufficient to terminate host-seeking. Partial meals and reduced feeding success of mosquitoes can result from defensive host behavior, which in the laboratory rat was shown to increase at high mosquito densities.