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Open Access Research article

Differential responses of the mosquito Aedes albopictus from the Indian Ocean region to two chikungunya isolates

Estelle Martin1, Sara Moutailler1, Yoann Madec2 and Anna-Bella Failloux1*

Author Affiliations

1 Génétique moléculaire des Bunyavirus, Institut Pasteur, 25-28 rue du Dr Roux, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France

2 Unité de Recherche et d'Expertise Epidémiologie des Maladies Emergentes, 25-28 rue du Dr Roux, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France

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BMC Ecology 2010, 10:8  doi:10.1186/1472-6785-10-8

Published: 12 March 2010



Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus are both vectors of chikungunya virus (CHIKV). The two Aedes species co-exist in the Indian Ocean region and were involved in the 2005-2006 CHIKV outbreaks. In the Reunion Island, a single mutation in the viral envelope has been selected that leads to high levels of replication in Ae. albopictus, and a short extrinsic incubation period as the virus could be found in saliva as early as two days after infection. An important question is whether this variant is associated with adverse effects impacting some mosquito life-history traits such as survival and reproduction.


We performed experimental infections using three mosquito strains of Ae. aegypti Mayotte and Ae. albopictus (Mayotte and Reunion), and two CHIKV strains (E1-226A and E1-226V). Ae. aegypti Mayotte were similarly susceptible to both viral strains, whereas Ae. albopictus Mayotte and Ae. albopictus Reunion were more susceptible to CHIKV E1-226V than to E1-226A. In terms of life-history traits measured by examining mosquito survival and reproduction, we found that: (1) differences were observed between responses of mosquito species to the two viruses, (2) CHIKV infection only affected significantly some life-history traits of Ae. albopictus Reunion and not of the other two mosquito strains, and (3) CHIKV reduced the lifespan of Ae. albopictus Reunion and shortened the time before egg laying.


We demonstrated that CHIKV only reduces the survival of Ae. albopictus from the Reunion Island. By laying eggs just before death, reproduction of Ae. albopictus from the Reunion Island is not reduced since other parameters characterizing oviposition and hatching were not affected.