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Article

Differentiation of Multiple Fluorescent Powders, Powder Transfer, and Effect on Mating in Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae)

1
Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, Department of Entomology and Nematology, IFAS, University of Florida, Vero Beach, FL 32962, USA
2
Department of Biology and Emerging Pathogens Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2020, 11(11), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110727
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.
Five different fluorescent powders (orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet) were tested on Aedes aegypti adults to evaluate the differentiation of multiple fluorescent powder colors applied externally in the same female mosquito, their effect on coupling time, copulation time, insemination success, mate choice, and the extent of transference of powders between marked and unmarked individuals, either during copulation or same-sex interactions. Marking with multiple powders was evaluated after applying different powders in the same female at different times and combinations. The comparative effect of powders on mating was explored using different cross-combinations of marked/unmarked couples. Transference of powders between marked/unmarked individuals after copulation was checked in mated individuals, and between same-sex interactions by allowing them to interact under crowded and uncrowded conditions. Identification of the colors included in multiple markings in the same individual was possible when exploring almost all combinations (exception: green–yellow). No important effect of powder marking between cross-combinations was found on coupling time (overall 95% CI (Confidence Interval) 37.6–49.6 min), copulation time (overall 95% CI 17–20 s), insemination success, nor their mate choice. Transferred powder after copulation activity, concentrated in genitalia, legs, and the tip of wings, occurred in >80% of females and 100% of males. Powder transference in legs and genitalia, between same-sex individuals, occurred only in males (ranged between 23–35%) under both density conditions. The lack of important effects of these powders on the studied aspects of Ae. aegypti provides information about their usefulness and limitations, which should be recognized for future applications and to avoid bias. View Full-Text
Keywords: marking techniques; mosquito; mating process and behavior; conspecific interactions marking techniques; mosquito; mating process and behavior; conspecific interactions
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rojas-Araya, D.; Alto, B.W.; Cummings, D.A.T.; Burkett-Cadena, N.D. Differentiation of Multiple Fluorescent Powders, Powder Transfer, and Effect on Mating in Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Insects 2020, 11, 727. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110727

AMA Style

Rojas-Araya D, Alto BW, Cummings DAT, Burkett-Cadena ND. Differentiation of Multiple Fluorescent Powders, Powder Transfer, and Effect on Mating in Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Insects. 2020; 11(11):727. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110727

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rojas-Araya, Diana, Barry W. Alto, Derek A. T. Cummings, and Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena. 2020. "Differentiation of Multiple Fluorescent Powders, Powder Transfer, and Effect on Mating in Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae)" Insects 11, no. 11: 727. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11110727

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