Temperature preference of sugar- or blood-fed Aedes japonicus mosquitoes under semi-natural conditions

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Mosquito-borne diseases pose a major burden on humans and animals. Temperature strongly influences the physiology and life cycle of mosquitoes and also the pathogens they transmit. Thermoregulatory behaviour of mosquitoes has been addressed in a few laboratory studies. Here, we expand such studies by investigating the thermal preference when resting of Aedes japonicus, an invasive and putative vector species of many pathogens, in a semi-field setup during summers in a temperate climate. Blood-fed or sugar-fed Ae. japonicus females were released in the late afternoon in a large outdoor cage containing three resting boxes. The next morning, temperature treatments were applied to the boxes, creating a “cool” (over all experiments around 18 °C), and a “warm” (around 35 °C) microhabitat in addition to an untreated “ambient” (around 26 °C) one. The mosquitoes resting within the three boxes were counted five times, every 2 h between 9h and 17h. The highest proportions of mosquitoes (e.g. up to 21% of blood-fed ones) were found in the cool box while both blood-fed and sugar-fed mosquitoes avoided the warm box. The mean resting temperatures of Ae. japonicus were below the ambient temperatures measured by a nearby meteorological station, and this was more pronounced at higher outdoor temperatures and in blood-fed as compared to sugar-fed mosquitoes. Thus, over all experiments with blood-fed mosquitoes, the calculated average resting temperature was 4 °C below the outdoor temperature. As mosquitoes prefer cooler resting places than temperatures measured by weather stations in summer, models to predict mosquito-borne disease outbreaks need to account for the thermoregulatory behaviour of mosquitoes, especially in the wake of climate change.




Ziegler, R., Blanckenhorn, W. U., Mathis, A., & Verhulst, N. O. (2023). Temperature preference of sugar- or blood-fed Aedes japonicus mosquitoes under semi-natural conditions. Journal of Thermal Biology, 114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtherbio.2023.103592

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