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Paradoxical effects of sublethal exposure to the naturally derived insecticide spinosad in the dengue vector mosquito, Aedes aegypti

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BACKGROUND: Recent studies have indicated that spinosad, a mixture of two tetracyclic macrolide compounds produced during the fermentation of a soil actinomycete, may be suitable for controlling a number of medically important mosquito species, including the dengue vector, Aedes aegypti L. The authors determined the effects of a 1 h exposure to a 50% lethal concentration (LC50) of spinosad in the larval stage on the wing length, longevity and reproductive capacity of the adult survivors.

RESULTS: The LC50 of spinosad for a wild‐caught population of Ae. aegypti from Chiapas, southern Mexico, was estimated to be 0.06 mg AI L−1 in late third instars. Paradoxically, the female survivors of exposure to this concentration were significantly larger (as determined by wing length) laid more eggs, but were slightly less fertile than control females. This was probably due to elimination of the smaller and more susceptible fraction of mosquito larvae from the experimental population following spinosad treatment. Male survivors, in contrast, were significantly smaller than controls. No significant differences were detected in the adult longevity of treated and control insects of either sex.

CONCLUSIONS: The increase in reproductive capacity of spinosad‐treated females did not compensate for mortality in the larval stage and would be unlikely to result in population increase in this mosquito under the conditions that were employed. Sustained‐release formulations would likely assist in minimizing the occurrence of sublethal concentrations of this naturally derived product in mosquito breeding sites. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry

Keywords: Aedes aegypti; adult longevity; reproductive capacity; spinosad; sublethal effect; wing length

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2009

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