Swarming and mate selection in Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae)

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Treating both male and female Anopheles gambiae as if they are "boids"(a computer program that mimics flocking in birds) explains much of the swarming and mating behavior in this important group of malaria vectors. It is suggested that species specific swarm sites act as the mate recognition system in anophelines and it is proposed that virgin females respond to the swarm site per se rather than the swarm itself. Given the high operational sex ratio and the inability of any male to dominate all females within the swarm, it is considered that chance, rather than sexual selection, is the most important determinant of mating. The male being in the swarm may be a sufficiently strong signal to the female of his fitness, so that more elaborate sexual selection is unnecessary. The possibility of alternative mechanisms for mating may also exist but need to be investigated further. Given the importance of swarms as the isolating mechanism between species, emphasis should be placed on determining the characteristics of swarm sites and markers between them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-864
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • Anopheles gambiae
  • boids
  • mating
  • operational sex ratio
  • swarming


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