The swarming and mating behaviour of Anopheles gambiae s.s. (Diptera Culicidae) from São Tome Island

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The swarming and mating behaviours of the forest cytoform of Anopheles gambiae s.s. were investigated on 194 evenings and 14 mornings between April 1997 and November 1999 in a peri-urban area of the island of São Tomé, West Africa. Males swarmed 2 - 3 m above markers of horizontal contrast such as those formed between grass areas and footpaths, or bushes. Evening swarms started 2 min before sunset in sheltered sites and a minute or two later in exposed ones. It took approximately 5 mins from the arrival of the first male for the swarm to reach estimated maximum numbers. Mating pairs were first seen 7 min after the start of swarming. Maximum numbers of pairs in copula were observed 8 min later. Up to 270 pairings were seen in the 20 min periodbefore darkness. Removal of males had no effect on the number of females arriving at the swarm. Males were attracted to sounds that approximated the female flight tone but not to filter paper samples of squashed virgin females swung through the swarm. A much-reduced amount of swarming and a single mating were recorded at dawn. The same locations for swarming were used at different times and at different heights by ants, Culicoides sp. and Culex quinquefasciatus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-183
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vector Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2002


  • Anopheles gambiae
  • Mating
  • São Tomé
  • Swarming


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