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How far away can female mosquitoes hear the flight tones of their conspecific male swarm?

How far away can female mosquitoes hear the flight tones of their conspecific male swarm?

Feugère, Lionel ORCID: 0000-0003-0883-5224, Gibson, Gabriella and Roux, Olivier (2019) How far away can female mosquitoes hear the flight tones of their conspecific male swarm? In: Le Studium Conferences. New avenues for the behavioral manipulation of disease vectors, 21-23 May 2019, Tours, France.

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Abstract

Males of many mosquito species aggregate in station-keeping swarms, waiting for the arrival of conspecific females to mate with. We test whether audition — via their antennal flagellum, primarily designed for close-range communication — could be used by females to locate male swarms at long-range. Swarms of Anopheles coluzzii males were recorded and played-back at different sound levels to conspecific individual free-flying females in a 2m–sided flight chamber. The females’ responses were investigated by analysing changes in 3D-tracked flight trajectories and wing-beat frequencies. The results show: 1) females do respond to the sound of swarming males by changing their wingbeat frequency pattern, without influencing their flight trajectories, 2) a quantitative effect of the sound stimulus level of conspecific males with a hearing threshold between 26 and 36 dB SPL, corresponding to a hearing distance threshold between 15 and 48 cm for a 60-male swarm.

An extrapolation of the results above to a medium-size swarm (300 males) using acoustic formulae relating sound pressure level and distance to the sound source, results in a hearing distance threshold of at least 34 cm, and of at least 1.5 m for the biggest extrapolated swarms (~6,000 males).

This study challenges an idea frequently mentioned in the mosquito-research community that mosquitoes do not hear at ranges further than a couple of cm; our results indicate that females can use long-range hearing to locate conspecific male swarm in the field.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Poster)
Additional Information: Best poster award (3rd place).
Uncontrolled Keywords: hearing, mosquitoes, acoustics, bioacoustics
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2019 14:25
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/24607

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