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Development of inexpensive and globally available larval diet for rearing Anopheles stephensi (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes

Inamullah Khan*, Abid Farid and Alam Zeb

Author Affiliations

Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture NIFA, G.T Road Tarnab, Peshawar, Pakistan

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:90  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-90

Published: 9 April 2013



Success of sterile insect technique (SIT) is dependent upon the mass rearing and release of quality insects, the production of which is directly related to the suitability of the diet ingredients used. Commercial diets used for small-scale culture of mosquitoes are expensive and thus not feasible for mass production.


A series of low cost globally available diet ingredients including, wheat, rice, corn, chickpeas, and beans along with liver, were provided to 4 h larvae (L1) of Anopheles stephensi (Liston) to see their effect on fitness parameters including larval duration, percent emergence, survival, adult wing size and female fecundity. Different quantities of the candidate diet ingredients were then mixed together to work out a combination diet with a balanced nutritive value that can be used for efficient rearing of the mosquito larvae at relatively lower costs.


Fastest larval and pupal development and highest survival rates were recorded using a combination diet of bean, corn, wheat, chickpea, rice, and bovine liver at 5 mg/day. The diet is easy to prepare, and much cheaper than the diets reported earlier. The estimated cost of the reported diet is 14.7 US$/ 1.3 kg for rearing one million larvae.


A combination diet with ingredients from cereals and legumes mixed with liver is a low cost balanced larval diet with the potential for use in both small scale laboratory rearing and mass production of Anopheles in SIT control programs.

Anopheles; Mass rearing; SIT; Wolbachia; Larval diet; Combination diet; Cereals; Legumes