Food availability and parasite infection influence the correlated responses of life history traits to selection for age at pupation in the mosquito Aedes aegypti


Jacob C. Koella Present address: Laboratoire d’Ecologie, CC237, Université P. & M. Curie, CNRS UMR 7625, 7 quai St. Bernard, 75252 Paris Cedex 5, France. Tel: +33 1 4427 3809; fax: + 33 1 4427 3516; e-mail:


We selected six lines of mosquito Aedes aegypti for earlier or later pupation and measured the correlated responses of several life history traits: adult size, two fecundity measures and pre-adult survival. We further examined the influence of two environmental parameters – larval food availability and infection by the microsporidian parasite Edhazardia aedis– on the correlated responses. Pre-adult survival did not respond to selection for age at pupation in any environment. For all of the other traits, the environment influenced the correlated response, though the contribution of the different environmental aspects differed among traits. While the correlated response of adult size was influenced only by larval food availability, the likelihood that a female laid eggs was influenced by parasite infection, and the correlated response of the number of eggs was influenced by the interaction of the two environmental parameters. Generally, a deteriorating environment moved the correlated response from one favouring later pupation to one favouring earlier pupation. Larval food availability and parasite infection also influenced the association between the mean wing length and fecundity of the selected lines. At high food availability, there was a positive relationship between adult size and fecundity, while infected mosquitoes reared at low food availability showed the opposite trend. We discuss these results in light of the coevolutionary potential of the host–parasite interaction.