"Singing on the Wing" as a Mechanism for Species Recognition in the Malarial Mosquito Anopheles gambiae

Pennetier, Cédric, Warren, Ben, Dabiré, K Roch, Russell, Ian J and Gibson, Gabriella (2009) "Singing on the Wing" as a Mechanism for Species Recognition in the Malarial Mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Current Biology, 20 (2). pp. 131-136. ISSN 0960-9822

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Anopheles gambiae, responsible for the majority of malaria deaths annually, is a complex of seven species and several chromosomal/molecular forms. The complexity of malaria epidemiology and control is due in part to An. gambiae's remarkable genetic plasticity, enabling its adaptation to a range of human-influenced habitats. This leads to rapid ecological speciation when reproductive isolation mechanisms develop [1,2,3,4,5,6]. Although reproductive isolation is essential for speciation, little is known about how it occurs in sympatric populations of incipient species [2]. We show that in such a population of ¿M¿ and ¿S¿ molecular forms, a novel mechanism of sexual recognition (male-female flight-tone matching [7,8,9]) also confers the capability of mate recognition, an essential precursor to assortative mating; frequency matching occurs more consistently in same-form pairs than in mixed-form pairs (p = 0.001). Furthermore, the key to frequency matching is ¿difference tones¿ produced in the nonlinear vibrations of the antenna by the combined flight tones of a pair of mosquitoes and detected by the Johnston's organ. By altering their wing-beat frequencies to minimize these difference tones, mosquitoes can match flight-tone harmonic frequencies above their auditory range. This is the first description of close-range mating interactions in incipient An. gambiae species.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Biology and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Ben Warren
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:51
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2012 17:04
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/22581
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