Vector-borne pathogens have been shown to influence behavioral and other traits of their hosts and vectors across multiple systems, frequently in ways that enhance transmission. In malaria pathosystems, Plasmodium parasites have been reported to alter mosquito physiology, fitness and host-seeking behavior. Such effects on vector behavior have obvious medical relevance given their potential to influence disease transmission. However, most studies detailing these effects have faced methodological limitations, including experiments limited to laboratory settings with model vector/pathogen systems. Some recent studies indicate that similar effects may not be observed with natural field populations; furthermore, it has been suggested that previously reported effects on vectors might be explained by immune responses elicited due to the use of pathogen–vector systems that are not co-evolved. In light of these developments, further work is needed to determine the validity of extrapolation from laboratory studies to field conditions and to understand how parasite effects on vectors affect transmission dynamics in real-world settings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science