Repeated bouts of dehydration deplete nutrient reserves and reduce egg production in the mosquito Culex pipiens

Joshua B. Benoit, Kevin R. Patrick, Karina Desai, Jeffrey J. Hardesty, Tyler B. Krause, David L. Denlinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


In this study of the mosquito, Culex pipiens, we examined the impact of multiple bouts of dehydration and rehydration on survival, depletion of metabolic reserves and egg production in both non-diapausing and diapausing females. Mosquitoes provided with access to sugar during rehydration survived longer than those allowed to rehydrate without sugar, and their survival was similar to that of mosquitoes of the same age that were not dehydrated. Among mosquitoes not provided with sugar, each dehydration bout reduced the mosquito's dry mass - an effect likely to be due to the utilization of carbohydrates and lipid reserves. The toll on glycogen and lipid reserves is likely to be especially costly for diapausing mosquitoes that are dependent on these stored reserves for winter survival. Egg production in both non-diapausing and post-diapausing C. pipiens was also reduced in response to multiple bouts of dehydration. Although egg quality was not compromised, the number of eggs produced was reduced. Both non-diapausing and diapausing females can compensate for the nutrient loss due to dehydration by sugar feeding but the opportunity to feed on sugar is likely to be rarely available in the overwintering habitat of diapausing females, thus the impact of dehydration may be especially pronounced in overwintering populations of C. pipiens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2763-2769
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Culex pipiens
  • Dehydration bouts
  • Diapause
  • Egg production
  • Nutrient reserves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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