In-flight mating in sympatric swarms of Anopheles malaria mosquito and their hybrids

To develop efficient vector control tools against malaria, better knowledge of the biology and ecology of the vectors is needed. Here, I aim to contribute to this by studying the mating behavior of two sympatric species of African malaria mosquitoes.

PI: Florian Muijres

The mosquitoes we use are the Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii, and importantly also their hybrids. We will use a multi-target, real-time, high-speed 3D videography system to describe the detailed 3D swarming flight dynamics and mating behaviors of An. gambiae, An. coluzzii and their hybrids in mating-swarms. We will use the outcome of this study to not only understand mating behavior for development of new vector control strategies such as sterile male mosquito release strategies but also to understand the ongoing speciation process within the Anopheles gambiae complex.

Our collaborators are: Prof. Florian Muijres, Dr. Antoine Cribellier, Dr. Jeroen Spitzen (Wageningen University & research, The Netherlands), Prof. Prof. Abdoulaye Diabaté (Institut de Recherche en Science de la Santé, Burkina Faso), Prof. Ruth Müller (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium) and Paola Pollegioni (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Italy).

Our study is fully funded by Wageningen University & Research through the Africa Talent Programme for a three-year postdoc position (Nov 2022 – Nov 2025).