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by Robert MacKay, Sunday, August 14, 2011 | Categories: Travel Clinic

A new study carried out on female mosquitos and mating has revealed some exciting results.  According to the study’s authors, female mosquitos do not know if their mates are infertile and furthermore, do not pursue future mates despite having not been fertilised. A particular species, known as the anopheles gambiae, were observed and are the species responsible for most of the cases of malaria transmission in Africa.

The female of this species will only mate once in her life so this means that if she has mated with an infertile partner, she will not go on to mate again and therefore miss out on her opportunity to have her eggs fertilised.

The researchers at the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology looked at 100 males who had no sperm. In order to produce these males they injected eggs with a protein that inhibited the development of the testes. They were therefore unable to produce sperm later in life.

These male adults were coupled with females and their physiology and behaviour observed. Females that had mated with an infertile male did not search for another mate again thereafter. This is an exciting study that takes us closer to the possibility of one day controlling the mosquito population and reduce the incidence of malaria.

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