Dispersal of male and female Culex quinquefasciatus and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes using stable isotope enrichment. Academic Article uri icon


  • The dispersal patterns of mosquito vectors are important drivers of vector-borne infectious disease dynamics and understanding movement patterns is pivotal to devise successful intervention strategies. Here, we investigate the dispersal patterns of two globally important mosquito vectors, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus, by marking naturally-occurring larvae with stable isotopes (13C or 15N). Marked individuals were captured with 32 CDC light trap, 32 gravid trap, and 16 BG Sentinel at different locations within two-kilometer radii of six larval habitats enriched with either 13C or 15N. In total, 720 trap nights from July to August 2013 yielded a total of 32,140 Cx. quinquefasciatus and 7,722 Ae. albopictus. Overall, 69 marked female mosquitoes and 24 marked male mosquitoes were captured throughout the study period. The distance that Cx. quinquefasciatus females traveled differed for host-seeking and oviposition-seeking traps, with females seeking oviposition sites traveling further than those seeking hosts. Our analysis suggests that 41% of Cx. quinquefasciatus females that were host-seeking occurred 1-2 kilometer from their respective natal site, while 59% remained within a kilometer of their natal site. In contrast, 59% of Cx. quinquefasciatus females that were seeking oviposition sites occurred between 1-2 kilometer away from their larval habitat, while 15% occurred > 2 kilometer away from their natal site. Our analysis estimated that approximately 100% of Ae. albopictus females remained within 1 km of their respective natal site, with 79% occurring within 250m. In addition, we found that male Ae. albopictus dispersed farther than females, suggesting male-biased dispersal in this Ae. albopictus population. This study provides important insights on the dispersal patterns of two globally relevant vector species, and will be important in planning next generation vector control strategies that mitigate mosquito-borne disease through sterile insect techniques, novel Wolbachia infection, and gene drive strategies.

published proceedings

  • PLoS Negl Trop Dis

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Medeiros, M., Boothe, E. C., Roark, E. B., & Hamer, G. L.

citation count

  • 51

complete list of authors

  • Medeiros, Matthew CI||Boothe, Emily C||Roark, E Brendan||Hamer, Gabriel L

editor list (cited editors)

  • Dinglasan, R. R.

publication date

  • January 2017