Pragmatic selection of larval mosquito diets for insectary rearing of Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti
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Pragmatic selection of larval mosquito diets for insectary rearing of Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      PLoS One
    • Description:
      Larval mosquitoes are aquatic omnivorous scavengers which scrape food from submerged surfaces and collect suspended food particles with their mouth brushes. The composition of diets that have been used in insectaries varies widely though necessarily provides sufficient nutrition to allow colonies to be maintained. Issues such as cost, availability and experience influence which diet is selected. One component of larval diets, essential fatty acids, appears to be necessary for normal flight though deficiencies may not be evident in laboratory cages and are likely more important when mosquitoes are reared for release into the field in e.g. mark-release-recapture and genetic control activities. In this study, four diets were compared for rearing Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti, all of which provide these essential fatty acids. Two diets were custom formulations specifically designed for mosquitoes (Damiens) and two were commercially available fish foods: Doctors Foster and Smith Koi Staple Diet and TetraMin Plus Flakes. Development rate, survival, dry weight and adult longevity of mosquitoes reared with these four diets were measured. The method of presentation of one diet, Koi pellets, was additionally fed in two forms, pellets or a slurry, to determine any effect of food presentation on survival and development rate. While various criteria might be selected to choose 'the best' food, the readily-available Koi pellets resulted in development rates and adult longevity equal to the other diets, high survival to the adult stage and, additionally, this is available at low cost.
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