Microclimate affects mosquito body size

Nicole Solano, a dance and biology major from Agnes Scott College,  worked with Michelle Evans in the lab of Dr. Courtney Murdock to examine the effects of temperature on mosquito life history traits.

Abstract: The Asian Tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is an invasive mosquito vector that can transmit up to 27 different arboviruses. Since mosquitoes are small ectotherms, variations in temperature largely impact their physiology, development, and potential to transmit human pathogens. Small changes due to microclimate significantly impact mosquito life history traits relevant for transmission (i.e. body size). Body size is an indicator of fecundity, population growth, and mosquito immunity; therefore understanding the effect of microclimate can inform small-scale variation in disease transmission. Last summer, a study was conducted to test the relationship between microclimate and body size in a semi-field system. They found that mosquitoes in urban sites were significantly smaller than those in rural sites; most likely due to warmer temperatures in urban sites.  To validate these findings in the field, we conducted field mosquito surveys and quantified Ae. albopictus wing length across land use.


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