Factor Affecting Sex Ratios of a Mermithid Parasite of Mosquitoes

J. J. Petersen


The ratio of male to female Reesimermis nielseni Tsai and Grundmann, a nematode parasite of mosquito larvae, increased as the number of parasites per host increased. Hosts with a single nematode produced 9% males compared with essentially 100% males in hosts with more than 7 parasites; hosts with 3 nematodes produced about equal numbers of males and females. Males of R. nielseni generally emerged before females because of the earlier death of multiple-infected mosquitoes. The species of the host mosquito influenced the sex ratio, but the size of a specific host at the time of invasion did not. Host diet also had a noticeable influence on the sex ratio of the nematode: singly infected hosts from a starved population produced 92% males compared with 13% in the normally fed group. The importance of these factors in the mass rearing of R. nielseni is discussed. Key words: Reesimermis nielseni, Rornanomermis, mosquitoes, sex ratios, Mermithidae, biological control, parasitism.

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