Plant sugar feeding patterns of wild-caught Aedes aegypti from dengue endemic and non-endemic areas of Kenya

12 Jul 2021

A fundamental understanding of plant sugar feeding behaviour in vector populations can lead to the development of ecologically effective vector monitoring and control strategies. Despite previous studies on mosquito–plant interactions, relatively few have been conducted on the dengue vector Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). The authors studied Ae. aegypti–plant interactions at two sites of varying dengue endemicity in Kenya: Kilifi (endemic) and Isiolo (non-endemic). Using chemical and molecular assays [DNA barcoding targeting the chloroplast ribulose-1,5 bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase large chain (rbcL) gene], the authors show that at the two sites plant feeding in this mosquito species: (a) varies by sex and season; (b) results in the acquisition of diverse sugars, and (c) is associated with diverse host plants in the families Fabaceae, Malvaceae, Poaceae and Rosaceae. These results reveal insights into the plant sugar feeding patterns of wild-caught Ae. aegypti and provide a baseline for future studies on the olfactory basis for host plant attraction for the development of vector monitoring and control tools.