Parasitism of Kenyan Mosquito Larvae (Diptera: Culicidae) by Romanomermis culicivorax (Nematoda: Mermithidae)


  • Nayna Vyas-Patel


The ability of Romanomermis culicivorax to infect, develop, and emerge from Kenyan mosquito hosts was evaluated in the laboratory. Host species tested were Aedes aegypti, Ae. dentatus, Ae. hirsutus, Anopheles arabiensis, An. coustani, An. funestus, An. gambiae, An. pharoensis, Culex duttoni, Cu. ethiopicus, Cu. poicilipes, Cu. quinquefasciatus, Cu. tigripes, Cu. univittatus, Coquillettidia metallica, Mansonia africana, Ma. uniformis, Mimomyia splendens, Mi. uniformis, Toxorhyncites brevipalpis, and Uranotaenia balfouri. R. culicivorax penetrated all the host species tested and developed and emerged from most of the hosts. Both penetration and some development, but not nematode emergence, were observed from all instars of Ma. uniformis. T. brevipalpis exhibited signs of resistance in the form of melanization of R. eulicivorax within 48 hours of infection in all four instar stages. Nematode melanization, especially in older hosts, was observed in Ae. dentatus, Ae. hirsutus, Cu. duttoni, Cu. tigripes, and Mi. splendens. When melanization occurred, the melanized carcass of the nematode was passed on from instar to instar. The implications for field release of R. culicivorax in Kenya are still good, especially in habitats where different mosquito species occupy the same niche at different times, which would allow for nematode recycling. Key words: biological control, host resistance, host susceptibility, melanization, Mermithidae.