Maintenance of mosquito vectors: effects of blood source on feeding, survival, fecundity, and egg hatching rates



Artificial membrane-feeding techniques have replaced direct feeding on animals for the maintenance of malaria and arbovirus vectors in many laboratories. Membrane feeding facilitates controlled experimentation of pathogen transmission during mosquito feeding. Sheep blood is commonly used due to its availability and low cost. We evaluated the impact of blood source (human, guinea pig, sheep, and hamster via direct feeding) on feeding rates, adult survival, fecundity, hatching rates, and developmental times for five species of laboratory-colonized mosquitoes (Anopheles dirus, An. cracens, An. minimus, An. sawadwongporni, and Ae. aegypti). We found that feeding rates differ among blood sources within mosquito species. Survival, fecundity, and hatching rates were lower in all Anopheles species and Ae. aegypti after membrane feeding on sheep blood. Survival rates seven days post-feeding on sheep blood were significantly lower (P<0.05) for An. dirus (84.2%), An. minimus (67.2%), An. sawadwongporni (51.5%), and An. cracens (35.5%) relative to other blood sources. An. minimus and An. sawadwongporni laid no eggs by seven days post-feeding with sheep blood, while An. dirus and An. cracens produced significantly fewer numbers of eggs and demonstrated significantly lower hatching rates relative to what was observed with the other blood sources. These findings support the conclusion that sheep blood is not a suitable blood source for laboratory rearing of Anopheles spp.