Sublethal effects of atrazine and glyphosate on life history traits of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae)

Jeffrey J. Bara, Allison Montgomery, Ephantus J. Muturi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although exposure of mosquito larvae to agricultural chemicals such as herbicides is common and widespread, our understanding of how these chemicals affect mosquito ecology and behavior is limited. This study investigated how an environmentally relevant concentration of two herbicides, atrazine and glyphosate, affects mosquito life history traits. One hundred and fifty (150) first instar Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti (L.) or Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus (Skuse) larvae were reared in 1.6 L of live oak leaf (Quercus virginiana) infusion in the presence (5 mg/L) or absence (0 mg/L) of atrazine or glyphosate. The containers were monitored daily to determine the emergence rates, sex ratio, male and female emergence times, and female body size. Emergence rates of A. aegypti from atrazine treatment were significantly higher relative to either glyphosate or control treatments (A. aegypti: atrazine=93±6 % (±95 % CI), glyphosate=82±5 %, control=78±5 %), while emergence rates of A. albopictus in atrazine treatments were significantly higher than in glyphosate treatments but not in controls (A. albopictus: atrazine=84±5 %, glyphosate=76±4 %, control=78±4 %). For both mosquito species, a sex ratio distortion with male bias was observed in control and glyphosate treatments, but not in atrazine treatments (A. aegypti: atrazine=0.90±0.17 (±SE), glyphosate=1.63±0.21, control=1.69±0.26; A. albopictus: atrazine=1.09±0.08, glyphosate=1.88±0.12, control=1.37±0.11). Emergence times for both sexes of the two mosquito species were significantly longer in atrazine treatments compared to glyphosate or control treatments (A. aegypti: females: atrazine=11.20±0.50 (days±95 % CI), glyphosate=9.71±0.23, control=9.87±0.21; males: atrazine=9.46±0.27, glyphosate=8. 80±0.25, control=8.85±0.24; A. albopictus: females: atrazine=17.40±1.70, glyphosate=12.4±0.40, control=12.5±0. 30; males: atrazine=12.96±0.41, glyphosate=10.48±0.24, control=10.64±0.37). For A. albopictus but not A. aegypti, adult females from atrazine treatment had significantly longer wing lengths compared to those from glyphosate or control treatments (A. albopictus: atrazine=3.06±0.07 (mm±95 % CI), glyphosate=2.80±0.07, control=2.83±0.06). These results demonstrate the potential for atrazine, a widely used herbicide, to influence epidemiologically relevant life history traits of mosquitoes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2879-2886
Number of pages8
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Aedes aegypti
  • Aedes albopictus
  • Atrazine
  • Glyphosate
  • Life history traits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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