• Aedes;
  • Anopheles;
  • Culex;
  • drinking;
  • phagostimulation;
  • particulates;
  • colloids;
  • filter-feeding;
  • fasting

ABSTRACT. Drinking rates were determined with four species of freshwater mosquito larvae by colorimetric measurement of the dye ingested after groups of fourth instars were allowed access for set periods to 2% amaranth solutions. The rate of drinking for the saline-tolerant Aedes aegypti, 309±113 nl per h per individual, was comparable with rates given in the literature for several saline-water species, but rates for Culex quinquefasciatus, Culex molestus and Anopheles albimanus were markedly lower (167±30, 48±17 and 108±28m per h, respectively). When larvae of A.aegypti and C. quinquefasciatus were glutted with kaolin (allowed to replace all food in the gut by filter-feeding in kaolin suspension), drinking rates were little affected at first, but after 1 day of fasting (holding in water after glutting), drinking rates were 50% lower and were reduced by a further 20% with fasting for up to 3 days. For A.aegypti, C.quinquefasciatus and C. molestus, drinking rates were approximately doubled with kaolin dispersed in the dye solution, and after fasting, were increased by up to 100% in solutions containing 0.05% of water-soluble yeast extract. A similar phagostimulant effect of 10-3M adenylic acid was demonstrated for A. aegypti and C. quinquefasciatus. A single experiment indicated similar stimulatory effects of kaolin and adenylic acid for, A. albimanus. With 0.01-0.05% agarose in the dye solutions, drinking rates for A. aegypti and C. quinquefasciatus were more than doubled, and a similar though weaker effect was demonstrated for another colloid, methylcellulose. In constrast, both colloids markedly reduced the rate of drinking with A.albimanus. These findings are discussed in relation to whether drinking and filter-feeding are necessarily coupled. The possible significance of this with respect to larvae that feed in different microhabitats, providing different levels of dissolved and colloidal nutrient organic matter, is considered. The implications of drinking rates for biotests of solubilized bacterial toxins as mosquito larvicides are noted.