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The relationship of host size to feeding by mosquitoes of the Anopheles gambiae Giles complex (Diptera: Culicidae)

  • G. R. Port (a1), P. F. L. Boreham (a1) and Joan H. Bryan (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2009

Attention has recently been focussed on the problem of why mosquitoes feed on some people more than others. In this paper, investigations of selective feeding by mosquitoes of the Anopheles gambiae Giles complex conducted in two villages in the Gambia are reported. Fed mosquitoes were collected from the bed nets of 35 groups of people who normally sleep together, for example mothers and infants or two children or two adults. A total of 2339 meals was analysed using haptoglobin or ABO typing to determine from which individual each meal had been obtained. The results showed that the proportion of feeds upon an individual in a group can be associated with the proportion of the total surface area or weight of the group contributed by that individual. The incidence of multiple feeding was between 3 and 6%. The results are discussed in relation to host selection by mosquitoes and their significance for models of malaria epidemiology.

Corresponding author
1Address for correspondence: Department of Zoology and Applied Entomology, Imperial College Field Station, Silwood Park, Ascot, Berks. SL5 7PY, UK
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R. C. Muirhead-Thomson (1951). The distribution of anopheline mosquito bites among different age groups.—Br. Med. J. 1, 11141117.

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R. H. Wright & F. E. Kellogg (1964). Host size as a factor in the attraction of malaria mosquitoes.—Nature, Lond. 202, 321322.

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