Behavioral and Postural Analysis of Mosquito Sleep Reveals This State Impacts Interactions With Their Hosts

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Lucas Gleitz
Joshua Benoit


By Lucas Gleitz, Biological Sciences

Advisor: Joshua Benoit

Presentation ID: 279 

Abstract: Throughout evolution, sleep has remained one of the most conserved phenomena across the animal kingdoms. In various animal systems, sleep plays a critical role in different biological processes like energy conservation, thermoregulation, and recovery from stress. Generally, the characterization of sleep states in different insect species relies heavily on behavioral factors and/or electrophysiological correlates. However, little is known about sleep in blood-feeding arthropods even though these systems have significant importance as vectors of disease-causing pathogens. In particular, sleep-based studies are non-existent in mosquitoes despite extensive focus on circadian rhythms which influence sleep in other animal systems. In this study, sleep was characterized using established behavioral correlates and we evaluated the effect of sleep deprivation on some indices of vectorial capacity. Our results revealed a definitive difference between an active/awake and sleep-like states in mosquitoes based on body and appendage position metrics. Sleep deprivation in the phase where mosquitoes are expected to be asleep induced by the delivery of vibration stimuli induced sleep rebound in the subsequent phase. Finally, sleep deprivation suppressed blood feeding and host landing in the phase when mosquitoes would normally be active and likely to blood feed. Our studies indicate that sleep-like states occur in mosquitoes and highlight the potential epidemiological importance of mosquito sleep.

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Category: Ecosystems & Biodiversity