Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 34, Issue 11, pp 1430-1436

First online:

Regulation of Oviposition in Anopheles gambiae s.s.: Role of Inter- and Intra-Specific Signals

  • Leunita A. SumbaAffiliated withInternational Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)Kenya Water Institute (KEWI)
  • , C. Brandon OgbunugaforAffiliated withInternational Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE)Yale University School of Medicine
  • , Arop L. DengAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Egerton University
  • , Ahmed HassanaliAffiliated withInternational Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Females of Anopheles gambiae Giles normally oviposit in a large number of fresh, small, sunlit, and spatially spread temporary pools. Such pools are associated with lower levels of predation compared to large, longer-lasting habitats. We compared oviposition levels on preferred (water collected from natural anopheline larval habitats) and non-preferred (distilled water) aqueous substrates by gravid females that contained different densities of conspecific eggs or early and late instar larvae. The presence of conspecific larvae, but not eggs, had a positive or negative effect on the ovipositional responses of gravid An. gambiae females, depending on the quality (preferred or non-preferred by the mosquito) of the oviposition water and the density of larvae. Presence of larvae, at all densities, in distilled water deterred oviposition. However, in natural anopheline pool water, a low density of larvae increased oviposition, whereas a higher density inhibited oviposition. Our results suggest that two signals produced by this mosquito may be involved in regulating oviposition: a volatile pheromone emitted by conspecific larvae, which augments the effect of a volatile signal emitted by preferred habitats, and a non-olfactory cue associated with high densities of larvae that deters oviposition.


Anopheles gambiae Giles Oviposition Intra-specific signals Larval pheromone