Differentiation of Multiple Fluorescent Powders, Powder Transfer, and Effect on Mating in Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae)
Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, Department of Entomology and Nematology, IFAS, University of Florida, Vero Beach, FL 32962, USA
Department of Biology and Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 September 2020
Revised: 15 October 2020
Accepted: 22 October 2020
Published: 24 October 2020
Fluorescent powders are one of the most used materials for externally marking mosquitoes, such as Aedes aegypti, a vector of numerous human pathogens. They can be used to explore multiple biological questions related to population size, dispersal, and other interactions related to the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. To ensure marking practical aspects and that these powders do not interfere with mosquito natural behaviors, differentiation of multiple colors applied externally in the same mosquito, their impact on mating, and their transference between individuals after copulation and same-sex interactions were studied. Multiple color differentiation was possible, except for green–yellow combination. No important effect of powder marking was found on any of the mosquito mating phases: coupling (recognition and genital contact), copulation (genitalia engagement and semen transfer), and insemination (deposition of the sperm in the female reservoirs). After copulation with a powder-treated mate, >80% of females and all males had powder in genitalia, legs, and wingtips. The transfer of powder, between same-sex individuals, occurred only in males. In general, fluorescent powders had a little observable effect on Ae. aegypti mating, suggesting that these markers do not alter this important vector life-history trait and are a useful and viable tool for mosquito studies.