A mosquito needs to bite at least twice for malaria transmission to occur: once to acquire parasites and, after these parasites complete their development in their mosquito host, once to transmit the parasites to the next vertebrate host. Here we investigate the relationship between temperature, parasite development, and biting frequency in a mosquito-rodent malaria model system. We show that the pre-bloodmeal period (the time lag between mosquito emergence and first bloodmeal) increases at lower temperatures. In addition, parasite development time and feeding exhibit different thermal sensitivities such that mosquitoes might not be ready to feed at the point at which the parasite is ready to be transmitted. Exploring these effects using a simple theoretical model of human malaria shows that delays in infection and transmission can reduce the vectorial capacity of malaria mosquitoes by 20 to over 60%, depending on temperature. These delays have important implications for disease epidemiology and control, and should be considered in future transmission models.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)