Akpodiete, NO and Tripet, F (2021) Laboratory and microcosm experiments reveal contrasted adaptive responses to ammonia and water mineralisation in aquatic stages of the sibling species Anopheles gambiae (sensu stricto) and Anopheles coluzzii. Parasites & Vectors, 14 (1). 17 - ?. ISSN 1756-3305

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BACKGROUND: The sibling species of the malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae (sensu stricto) and Anopheles coluzzii co-exist in many parts of West Africa and are thought to have recently diverged through a process of ecological speciation with gene flow. Divergent larval ecological adaptations, resulting in Genotype-by-Environment (G × E) interactions, have been proposed as important drivers of speciation in these species. In West Africa, An. coluzzii tends to be associated with permanent man-made larval habitats such as irrigated rice fields, which are typically more eutrophic and mineral and ammonia-rich than the temporary rain pools exploited by An. gambiae (s.s.) METHODS: To highlight G × E interactions at the larval stage and their possible role in ecological speciation of these species, we first investigated the effect of exposure to ammonium hydroxide and water mineralisation on larval developmental success. Mosquito larvae were exposed to two water sources and increasing ammonia concentrations in small containers until adult emergence. In a second experiment, larval developmental success was compared across two contrasted microcosms to highlight G × E interactions under conditions such as those found in the natural environment. RESULTS: The first experiment revealed significant G × E interactions in developmental success and phenotypic quality for both species in response to increasing ammonia concentrations and water mineralisation. The An. coluzzii strain outperformed the An. gambiae (s.s.) strain under limited conditions that were closer to more eutrophic habitats. The second experiment revealed divergent crisscrossing reaction norms in the developmental success of the sibling species in the two contrasted larval environments. As expected, An. coluzzii had higher emergence rates in the rice paddy environment with emerging adults of superior phenotypic quality compared to An. gambiae (s.s.), and vice versa, in the rain puddle environment. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence for such G × E interactions lends support to the hypothesis that divergent larval adaptations to the environmental conditions found in man-made habitats such as rice fields in An. coluzzii may have been an important driver of its ecological speciation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ammonia tolerance, Anopheles coluzzii, Anopheles gambiae, Eco-speciation, Malaria, Mineral water, Rice fields
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2021 17:18
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2021 14:24
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/9098

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