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BackgroundSugar-feeding behaviour is essential for mosquito survival and reproduction, and has been exploited to develop new control strategies, such as the attractive targeted sugar baits (ATSB). This study examined the sugar-feeding habits of the dengue vector, Aedes aegypti, in semi-field conditions to determine the optimal timing (age) of sugar meals and whether the availability of sugar sources could affect blood-feeding by these mosquitoes.MethodsA series of paired-choice assays were conducted in which mosquitoes were allowed to choose between a sugar meal or a blood meal directly from a rabbit. Female 1-day-old mosquitoes were given meal choices in cages I-V and observed for feeding choice in only one cage every day for 5 days starting with cages I to V. The preference of Ae. aegypti to feed on sugar or blood and the effect of sugar source availability on blood-feeding was assessed at different chronological and physiological ages.ResultsIn the first 5 days post-emergence, there was no significant difference in mosquito preference for sugar or blood meals. However, after the first gonotrophic cycle, they had a greater preference for blood over sugar (odds ratio, OR [95% confidence interval, CI] = 9.4 [6.7-13.0]; P ConclusionsNewly emerged females of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes were equally likely to choose a sugar meal or a blood meal. However, after the first gonotrophic cycle, they had a greater preference for blood over sugar. Additionally, nulliparous female mosquitoes were less likely to blood-feed when both sugar and blood sources were available. These findings provide insights into the sugar-feeding behaviour of Ae. aegypti and can inform the development and optimization of new control strategies such as using ATSB.

Original publication





Parasites & vectors

Publication Date





Environmental Health and Ecological Sciences Thematic Group, Ifakara Health Institute, P.O. Box 74, Bagamoyo, Tanzania.


Animals, Aedes, Dengue, Biological Assay, Female, Mosquito Vectors, Sugars