Effects of Host Diet on Romanomermis culicivorax, a Mermithid Parasite of Mosquitoes


  • Roger Gordon
  • Jacqueline M. Squires
  • Sally J. Babie
  • Ian R. Burford


When larval mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) infected with the mermithid nematode Romanomermis culicivorax were fed on a diet low in quantity or protein content or both, the number of postparasites which emerged from the hosts decreased and host mortality increased marginally. Parasitic development was prolonged and became asynchronous in nutritionally deprived hosts. Nematodes emerged from insects infected by more than one nematode before the remaining juveniles comprising such infections had completed parasitic development; this resulted in substantial reductions in postparasite nttmbers. Host development was retarded by low protein and/or reduced diets. Postparasites emerging from second and third instars were reduced in size and in the amount of stored nutriment compared to those recovered from hosts fed on a high protein diet ad libitum. A greater proportion of the rnermithids developed into males in hosts fed on reduced diets but not in hosts fed on low protein diets. Key words: Aedes aegypti, asynchronous development, protein diet. Mermithidae, postparasites, restricted diet, sex ratios.