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First report of behavioural lateralisation in mosquitoes: right-biased kicking behaviour against males in females of the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus

Benelli, Giovanni, Romano, Donato, Messing, Russell H., Canale, Angelo
Parasitology research 2015 v.114 no.4 pp. 1613-1617
Aedes albopictus, brain, females, invertebrates, legs, males, vertebrates
Lateralisation (i.e. functional and/or structural specialisations of left and right sides of the brain) of aggressive traits has been studied in a number of vertebrates, while evidence for invertebrates is scarce. Mosquito females display aggressive responses against undesired males, performing rejection kicks with the hind legs. In this research, we examined lateralisation of kicking behaviour in females of the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus. We found a right-biased population-level lateralisation of kicking behaviour. Four repeated testing phases on mosquito females confirmed the preferential use of right legs. However, when left legs were used, the mean number of kicks per rejection event was not different to that performed with right legs. Both left and right kicking behaviour lead to successful displacement of undesired partners. This is the first report about behavioural lateralisation in mosquitoes.