The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-27) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
NC, EP and FT planned the experiments and analysed the data. NC and EP conducted the experiments. FT wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Memory and learning are critical aspects of the ecology of insect vectors of human pathogens because of their potential effects on contacts between vectors and their hosts. Despite this epidemiological importance, there have been only a limited number of studies investigating associative learning in insect vector species and none on Anopheline mosquitoes.
A simple behavioural assays was developed to study visual and olfactory associative learning in Anopheles gambiae, the main vector of malaria in Africa. Two contrasted membrane qualities or levels of blood palatability were used as reinforcing stimuli for bi-directional conditioning during blood feeding.
Under such experimental conditions An. gambiae females learned very rapidly to associate visual (chequered and white patterns) and olfactory cues (presence and absence of cheese or Citronella smell) with the reinforcing stimuli (bloodmeal quality) and remembered the association for up to three days. Associative learning significantly increased with the strength of the conditioning stimuli used. Importantly, learning sometimes occurred faster when a positive reinforcing stimulus (palatable blood) was associated with an innately preferred cue (such as a darker visual pattern). However, the use of too attractive a cue (e.g. Shropshire cheese smell) was counter-productive and decreased learning success.
The results address an important knowledge gap in mosquito ecology and emphasize the role of associative memory for An. gambiae's host finding and blood-feeding behaviour with important potential implications for vector control.
Authors’ original file for figure 112936_2011_1980_MOESM1_ESM.pdf
Authors’ original file for figure 212936_2011_1980_MOESM2_ESM.pdf
Authors’ original file for figure 312936_2011_1980_MOESM3_ESM.pdf
Authors’ original file for figure 412936_2011_1980_MOESM4_ESM.pdf
Authors’ original file for figure 512936_2011_1980_MOESM5_ESM.pdf
Strausfeld NJ, Mizunami M, Okada R, Li YS: Mushroom bodies of the cockroach: Activity and identities of neurons recorded in freely moving animals. J Comp Neurobiol. 1998, 402: 501-519. 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9861(19981228)402:4<501::AID-CNE5>3.0.CO;2-M. CrossRef
Wehner R, Raber F: Visual Spatial Memory in Desert Ants, Cataglyphis-Bicolor (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Experientia. 1979, 35: 1569-1571. 10.1007/BF01953197. CrossRef
Cartwright BA, Collett TS: How Honey Bees Use Landmarks to Guide Their Return to a Food Source. Nature. 1982, 295: 560-564. 10.1038/295560a0. CrossRef
Mizunami M, Matsumoto Y: Olfactory learning in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus. J Exp Biol. 2000, 203: 2581-2588. PubMed
Langen TA, Tripet F, Nonacs P: The red and the black: habituation and the dear-enemy phenomenon in two desert Pheidole ants. Behav Ecol Sociobiol. 2000, 48: 285-292. 10.1007/s002650000223. CrossRef
Mackintosh J: The Psychology of Animal Learning. 1974, New York: Academic Press
Nielsen E, Nielsen A: Field observations on the habit of Aedes taeniorhynchus. Ecology. 1953, 34: 141-156. 10.2307/1930314. CrossRef
Ferrari MCO, Messier F, Chivers DP: Threat-sensitive learning of predators by larval mosquitoes Culex restuans. Behav Ecol Sociobiol. 2008, 62: 1079-1083. 10.1007/s00265-007-0535-7. CrossRef
Muller GC, Junnila A, Kravchenko VD, Revay EE, Butler J, Schlein Y: Indoor protection against mosquito and sand fly bites: A comparison between citronella, linalool, and geraniol candles. J Am Mosqu Control Assoc. 2008, 24: 150-153. 10.2987/8756-971X(2008)24[150:IPAMAS]2.0.CO;2. CrossRef
Menzel R: Memory dynamics in the honeybee. J Comp Physiol (A). 1999, 185: 323-340. 10.1007/s003590050392. CrossRef
Greggers U, Menzel R: Memory dynamics and foraging strategies of honeybees. Behav Ecol Sociobiol. 1993, 32: 17-29. CrossRef
Gillies MT: The duration of the gonotrophic cycle in Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus, with a note on the efficiency of hand catching. East Afr Med J. 1953, 30: 129-135. PubMed
Carnevale P, Bosseno M-F, Molinier M, Lancien J, Le Pont F, Zoulani A: Etude du cycle gonotrophique d' Anopheles gambiae (Diptera, Culicidae) (Giles, 1902) en zone de forêt degradée d'Afrique Centrale. Cah ORSTOM sér Ent Med Parasitol. 1979, XVII: 55-75.
- Visual and olfactory associative learning in the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto
- BioMed Central
Neu im Fachgebiet Innere Medizin
Meistgelesene Bücher aus der Inneren Medizin
e.Med Kampagnen-Visual, Mail Icon II