Data and code associated with: Mosquitoes integrate visual and acoustic cues to mediate conspecific interactions in swarms

Published: 9 July 2024| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/tn4cpwbxpm.1
Saumya Gupta


This dataset is a supplement to the article "Mosquitoes integrate visual and acoustic cues to mediate conspecific interactions in swarms ". The methods describing the generation of this data is fully described in the associated article. Article Abstract: Male mosquitoes form aerial aggregations, known as swarms, to attract females and maximize their chances of finding a mate. Within these swarms, individuals must be able to recognize potential mates and navigate the social environment to successfully intercept a mating partner. Prior research has almost exclusively focused on the role of acoustic cues in mediating the male mosquito’s ability to recognize and pursue flying females. However, the role of other sensory modalities in this behavior has not been explored. Moreover, how males avoid collisions with one another in the swarm while pursuing females remains poorly understood. In this study, we combined free-flight and tethered flight simulator experiments to demonstrate that swarming Anopheles coluzzii mosquitoes integrate visual and acoustic information to track conspecifics and avoid collisions. Our tethered experiments revealed that acoustic stimuli gated mosquito steering responses to visual objects simulating nearby mosquitoes, especially in males that exhibited a strong response toward visual objects in the presence of female flight tones. Additionally, we observed that visual cues alone could trigger changes in mosquitoes’ wingbeat amplitude and frequency. These findings were corroborated by our free-flight experiments, which revealed that Anopheles coluzzii modulate their flight responses to nearby conspecifics in a similar manner to tethered animals, potentially allowing for collision avoidance within swarms. Together, these results demonstrate that both males and females integrate multiple sensory inputs to mediate swarming behavior, and for males, the change in flight kinematics in response to multimodal cues might allow them to simultaneously track females while avoiding collisions.



University of Washington


Behavioral Neuroscience, Sensory Integration