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The influence of diet on the use of near-infrared spectroscopy to determine the age of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

Kelly Liebman, Isabel Swamidoss, Lucrecia Vizcaino, Audrey Lenhart, Floyd Dowell, Robert Wirtz
American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 2015 v.92 no.5 pp. 1070-1075
diet, females, sugars, thorax, fish meat, age structure, infant foods, models, Aedes aegypti, least squares, age determination, head, near-infrared spectroscopy, viruses, imagos, larvae, blood, animal age
Interventions targeting adult mosquitoes are used to combat transmission of vector-borne diseases, including dengue. Without available vaccines, targeting the primary vector, Aedes aegypti, is essential to prevent transmission. Older mosquitoes (≥ 7 days) are of greatest epidemiological significance due to the 7-day extrinsic incubation period of the virus. Age-grading of female mosquitoes is necessary to identify post-intervention changes in mosquito population age structure. We developed models using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to age-grade adult female Ae. aegypti. To determine if diet affects the ability of NIRS models to predict age, two identical larval groups were fed either fish food or infant cereal. Adult females were separated and fed sugar water ± blood, resulting in four experimental groups. Females were killed 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, or 16 days post-emergence. The head/thorax of each mosquito was scanned using a near-infrared spectrometer. Scans from each group were analyzed, and multiple models were developed using partial least squares regression. The best model included all experimental groups, and positively predicted the age group (< or ≥ 7 days) of 90.2% mosquitoes. These results suggest both larval and adult diets can affect the ability of NIRS models to accurately assign age categories to female Ae. aegypti.