Effects of Nectar Phytochemicals on Life-History Traits of the Invasive Asian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes Albopictus

Teresia Njoroge, May Berenbaum, Chris Stone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Plant nectar is an essential component of adult mosquito diets. During nectar-feeding, mosquitoes ingest various phytochemicals, including phenolics, terpenoids, and alkaloids. Compared to other nectar-feeders (e.g., bees), the ecological significance of nectar phytochemicals for mosquitoes has not been extensively explored. The aim of this study was to conduct laboratory-based assays to evaluate the effects of nectar phytochemicals on the longevity, fecundity and sugar-feeding behavior of adult female Aedes albopictus. Longevity was assessed by subjecting newly emerged females to 10% sucrose solution containing quercetin, p-coumaric acid and caffeine and recording daily mortality. For fecundity assays, the mosquitoes were subjected to the same dietary phytochemicals for seven days and eggs counted following a single blood meal. The cold-anthrone test was used to quantify the amount of sugar consumed by mosquitoes exposed to the dietary phytochemicals. Dietary quercetin and p-coumaric acid were associated with lifespan extension (mean longevity= 69 and 67 days, respectively, compared to control =54 days). Although caffeine ingestion resulted in low sugar consumption (33.84 μg/μl) compared to the control group (67.84 μg/μl), none of the three phytochemicals affected the fecundity of gravid females. Our results demonstrate that dietary phytochemicals can affect mosquito longevity and sugar-feeding behavior and thereby may influence their fitness and vectorial capacity. We are currently conducting an experiment using a whole transcriptome-based approach to identify mosquito-nectar phytochemical interactions at the genomic level.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Place of PublicationNational Harbor, Maryland
PublisherAmerican Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene


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