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Artificial Light at Night Increases Aedes aegypti Mosquito Biting Behavior with Implications for Arboviral Disease Transmission

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  • 1 Department of Biological Sciences, Galvin Life Science Center, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana;
  • 2 Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

ABSTRACT

Aedes aegypti mosquito is a major vector of arboviral disease. Here, we report that the biting behavior of normally daytime active anthropophilic Ae. aegypti mosquitoes on human hosts is abnormally increased at night following exposure to artificial light at night (ALAN). Biting was examined using a human host assay where caged mosquitoes were exposed to a human arm and blood-feeding measured. Mosquitoes were tested during the daytime, nighttime, or challenged with ALAN. As predicted from the Ae. aegypti diel/circadian biting cycle, maximal biting occurred during daytime and lowest level occurred at night. Biting in the ALAN group was increased compared with time-matched nighttime controls. These data reveal that exposure to ALAN increases nocturnal blood-feeding behavior. This finding highlights the concern that globally increasing levels of light pollution could be impacting arboviral disease transmission, such as dengue fever and Zika, and has implications for application of countermeasures for mosquito vector control.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to Giles E. Duffield, Department of Biological Sciences, Galvin Life Science Center, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. E-mail: duffield.2@nd.edu

Financial support: L. F. L. was funded by a University of Notre Dame (UND) College of Science Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, S. S. C. R. was funded by the NIAID (Contract No. HHSN272201400029C), and G. E. D. supported by UND and Eck Institute for Global Health.

Authors’ addresses: Samuel S. C. Rund, Laura F. Labb, Owen M. Benefiel, and Giles E. Duffield, Department of Biological Sciences, Galvin Life Science Center, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, and Eck Institute for Global Health, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, E-mails: srund@nd.edu, llabb@alumni.nd.edu, obenefiel@gwu.edu, and duffield.2@nd.edu.

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