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Insecticide resistance genes confer a predation cost on mosquitoes, Culex pipiens

  • C. BERTICAT (a1), O. DURON (a1), D. HEYSE (a1) and M. RAYMOND (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 July 2004

Newly occurring adaptive genes, such as those providing insecticide resistance, display a fitness cost which is poorly understood. In order to detect subtle behavioural changes induced by the presence of resistance genes, we used natural predators and compared their differential predation on susceptible and resistant Culex pipiens mosquitoes, using strains with a similar genetic background. Resistance genes were either coding an overproduced detoxifying esterase (locus Ester), or an insensitive target (locus ace-1). Differential predation was measured between susceptible and resistant individuals, as well as among resistant mosquitoes. A backswimmer, a water measurer, a water boatman and a predaceous diving beetle were used as larval predators, and a pholcid spider as adult predator. Overall, the presence of a resistance gene increased the probability of predation: all resistance genes displayed predation costs relative to susceptible ones, at either the larval or adult stage, or both. Interestingly, predation preferences among the susceptible and the resistance genes were not ranked uniformly. Possible explanations for these results are given, and we suggest that predators, which are designed by natural selection to detect specific behavioural phenotypes, are useful tools to explore non-obvious differences between two classes of individuals, for example when they differ by the presence or absence of one recent gene, such as insecticide resistance genes.

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Genetics Research
  • ISSN: 0016-6723
  • EISSN: 1469-5073
  • URL: /core/journals/genetics-research
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