The colonization of the African malaria vector Anopheles funestus has been hampered by inadequate knowledge of its mating and development under laboratory conditions. Life-tables are routinely used to provide baseline biological characteristics needed for colonization. This study characterized age-specific life-table attributes of an existing An. funestus laboratory strain to gain insight into factors that are critical for its colonization. To achieve this, the An. funestus laboratory strain was reared from eggs to adulthood under standard insectary conditions, monitoring and characterizing each developmental stage. The mean insemination rate of females was 74.8% with an average egg load of 67.1 eggs/female and a mean fertility of 86.7%. The mean developmental time from 1st instar larvae (L1) to pupation was 16.4 days. The mean proportion of L1 that survived to pupation was 72.9%. On average, 78.8% of the pupae successfully eclosed as adults. The median longevity for adult males and females was 44 and 28 days, respectively. This work constitutes the first report on life-table characterization of an An. funestus strain. The larval developmental time was within the range reported for wild An. funestus while adult longevity was higher compared to survivorship observed in wild populations. These data demonstrate that the colonized An. funestus strain has potential to be re-colonized under standard insectary conditions. The study provides base-line information for further studies on identifying critical parameters for the maintenance of An. funestus under artificial conditions.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1