Background: The yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is the principal vector of multiple infectious pathogens that can cause severe illness such as dengue fever, yellow fever and Zika. Their transmission potential for these arboviruses is largely shaped by their life history traits, such as their survival and fecundity. These life history traits depend on environmental conditions, such as larval and adult nutrition (e.g., nectar availability). Both these types of nutrition are known to affect the energetic reserves and life history traits of adults, but whether and how nutrition obtained during different stages have an interactive influence on mosquito life history traits remains largely unknown.
Results: Here, we experimentally manipulated both larval and adult diets to create four nutritional levels, that is, a high amount of larval food plus poor (weak concentration of sucrose) adult food: HL+PA, high larval plus good (normal sucrose concentration) adult food: HL+GA, low larval plus poor adult food: LL+PA and low larval plus good adult food: LL+GA. We then compared the size, survival and fecundity of mosquitoes reared from these nutritional regimes. We found that larval and adult nutrition affected mosquito size and survival, respectively, without interactions, while both larval and adult nutrition synergistically influenced mosquito fecundity. There was a positive relationship between mosquito size and fecundity. In addition, this positive relationship was not affected by nutrition.
Conclusions: These findings highlight how larval and adult nutrition differentially influence mosquito life history traits, suggesting that studies evaluating nutritional effects on vectorial capacity traits should account for environmental variation across life stages.