Swarming behaviour in Aedes aegypti

RNA-seq whole head swarming vs. non-swarming males, clock implications in the control of mating

Mosquitoes are mating in swarms, agglomerate of males releasing pheromones and attracting females with a specific wing beat frequency. Depending on the species, these swarms can be induce by time or host stimulus. However, even in time control species, some males stay at rest while the others breed. A recent study found a differential expression of essential clock genes (timeless and period) between swarming and resting males despite the same time of collection (Wang et al., 2021).

The internal clock is involved in the control of mating behaviour in lots of species (fish, mammals, moquitoes, etc.), but is the clock still essential in the forming of swarms when this behaviour depend on the presence of host and thus happen randomly through the day?

Here we focus on the Yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, a species breeding after stimulation from an host reducing the time between mating and blood meal essential to accumulate enought energy for egg laying. We sequenced the transcriptome of whole male head and compare the transcripts differentially express between swarming and non-swarming males.

These pictures represent a male of the species Aedes aegypti (left) and an heat-map of the differential express transcripts detected between swarming and non-swarming males (right).

Wang, G., Vega-Rodríguez, J., Diabate, A., Liu, J., Cui, C., Nignan, C., et al. (2021) Clock genes and environmental cues coordinate Anopheles pheromone synthesis, swarming, and mating, 6.