Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 34, Issue 11, pp 1430–1436 | Cite as

Regulation of Oviposition in Anopheles gambiae s.s.: Role of Inter- and Intra-Specific Signals

  • Leunita A. Sumba
  • C. Brandon Ogbunugafor
  • Arop L. Deng
  • Ahmed Hassanali


Females of Anopheles gambiae Giles normally oviposit in a large number of fresh, small, sunlit, and spatially spread temporary pools. Such pools are associated with lower levels of predation compared to large, longer-lasting habitats. We compared oviposition levels on preferred (water collected from natural anopheline larval habitats) and non-preferred (distilled water) aqueous substrates by gravid females that contained different densities of conspecific eggs or early and late instar larvae. The presence of conspecific larvae, but not eggs, had a positive or negative effect on the ovipositional responses of gravid An. gambiae females, depending on the quality (preferred or non-preferred by the mosquito) of the oviposition water and the density of larvae. Presence of larvae, at all densities, in distilled water deterred oviposition. However, in natural anopheline pool water, a low density of larvae increased oviposition, whereas a higher density inhibited oviposition. Our results suggest that two signals produced by this mosquito may be involved in regulating oviposition: a volatile pheromone emitted by conspecific larvae, which augments the effect of a volatile signal emitted by preferred habitats, and a non-olfactory cue associated with high densities of larvae that deters oviposition.


Anopheles gambiae Giles Oviposition Intra-specific signals Larval pheromone 



We thank K. Okoth, E. Obudho, J. Wauna, and the staff of the malaria vector program at Thomas Odhiambo campus-ICIPE for their technical assistance. This research was partly supported by funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant U19 AI45511 and the ABC Fogarty through grant number D43TWØ1142. LS acknowledges a PhD scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (through the ICIPE African Regional Post-graduate Program in Insect Science, ARPPIS). CBO wishes to acknowledge the US William J. Fulbright Program and the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies (YIBS) Field Ecology Award.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leunita A. Sumba
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Brandon Ogbunugafor
    • 1
    • 3
  • Arop L. Deng
    • 4
  • Ahmed Hassanali
    • 1
  1. 1.International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)NairobiKenya
  2. 2.Kenya Water Institute (KEWI)NairobiKenya
  3. 3.Yale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesEgerton UniversityNjoroKenya

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