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Keywords:

  • Culex molestus;
  • autogeny;
  • mating;
  • larval diet;
  • blood feeding;
  • sugar feeding

ABSTRACT:

Culex molestus Forskal is suspected to have been introduced into southern Australia during the 1940s. Investigations to determine factors influencing the expression of autogeny, the response of this mosquito to potential blood meals, and the subsequent influence on oviposition were undertaken. Immature mosquitoes raised at five feeding regimes had mortality rates, development rates, wing length, and autogenous egg raft size measured. All surviving female mosquitoes laid autogenous eggs but there was a significant difference between the mean number of eggs per raft. For mosquitoes raised at each of the feeding regimes, there was a significant linear relationship between the number of eggs per autogenous egg raft and wing length. Newly emerged mosquitoes were offered a blood meal (i.e., rodent) daily but no blood feeding occurred until the autogenous egg raft was laid. There was no statistical difference in the rate of autogenous oviposition or post-oviposition blood feeding between control or treatment groups. The results of this study indicate that Cx. molestus is perfectly adapted to subterranean habitats in close association with human habitation, but their preference to delay blood feeding until up to day 8 following emergence may reduce their relative importance as a vector of arboviruses.