The impact of the age of first blood meal and Zika virus infection on Aedes aegypti egg production and longevity.
The impact of senescence and pathogen infection on Aedes aegypti life-history traits remains poorly understood. This laboratory study focused on the impact of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection and the age of first blood intake on blood meal and clutch sizes, and more importantly on the egg production ratio per μL of blood. Three groups of ZIKV-infected and uninfected Ae. aegypti females that received their first blood meal at 7 (young feeders), 14 (mature feeders) and 21 days old (old feeders) were monitored daily for survival and received a blood meal free of ZIKV once a week. The number of eggs laid per female were registered 3-4 days after blood feeding. Infection by ZIKV and age of feeding produced a strong negative impact on survival and oviposition success (e.g. likelihood of laying at least one egg per gonotrophic cycle). Interestingly, clutch size presented a dramatic reduction on uninfected mosquitoes, but raised from 36.5 in clutch1 to 55.1 eggs in clutch 3. Blood meal size remained stable in uninfected females, while a slight increase was observed for the infected counterparts. In uninfected Ae. aegypti, egg production was strongly affected by the age of feeding with younger females laying three times more eggs than when older. On the other hand, ZIKV-infected mosquitoes had a constant but low egg production. Overall, mosquito senescence and ZIKV infection had an impact on mosquito egg production by causing a sharp decrease in the number of eggs along the clutches for uninfected mosquitoes and a slight increase for infected mosquitoes. Despite some study limitations, our results contribute to a better understanding of the effects of mosquito aging and pathogen infection on the vectorial capacity of Ae. aegypti