Cannibalism and predation among larvae of the Anopheles gambiae complex


Dr Willem Takken, Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, PO Box 8031, 6700 EH, Wageningen, the Netherlands. E-mail:


Among the aquatic developmental stages of the Anopheles gambiae complex (Diptera: Culicidae), both inter- and intra-specific interactions influence the resulting densities of adult mosquito populations. For three members of the complex, An. arabiensis Patton, An. quadriannulatus (Theobald) and An. gambiae Giles sensu stricto, we investigated some aspects of this competition under laboratory conditions. First-instar larvae were consumed by fourth-instar larvae of the same species (cannibalism) and by fourth-instar larvae of other sibling species (predation). Even when larvae were not consumed, the presence of one fourth-instar larva caused a significant reduction in development rate of first-instar larvae. Possible implications of these effects for population dynamics of these malaria vector mosquitoes are discussed.