Yeasts Associated with Culex pipiens and Culex theileri Mosquito Larvae and the Effect of Selected Yeast Strains on the Ontogeny of Culex pipiens

Academic Article


  • The success of mosquitoes in nature has been linked to their microbiota and bacteria in particular. Yet, knowledge on their symbioses with yeasts is lacking. To explore possible associations, culturable yeasts were isolated from wild larvae of Culex pipiens and Culex theileri. These yeasts were classified using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analyses and identified by sequencing the D1/D2 region of the 26S rRNA gene. Representative strains of Candida, Cryptococcus, Galactomyces, Hannaella, Meyerozyma, Pichia, Rhodosporidium, Rhodotorula, Trichosporon and Wickerhamomyces were isolated. Our results provide, to our knowledge, the first records of the yeast microbiota from wild mosquito larvae and show that they may harbour potential clinically relevant yeast species, including the well-known opportunistic human pathogen Candida albicans. Also, diminished numbers of yeast isolates originating from adults, compared to larvae, support the hypothesis of microbial reduction/elimination during adult emergence and extend it to include yeasts. In addition, strains of Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida pseudolambica, Cryptococcus gattii, Metschnikowia bicuspidata, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Wickerhamomyces anomalus were tested as sole feed during a 21-day feeding experiment wherein cumulative larval growth, survival and pupation of Cx. pipiens were recorded. Although most yeasts supported larval growth in a similar manner to the positive control S. cerevisiae strain, the different yeast strains impacted differently on Culex pipiens ontogeny. Notably, survival and pupation of larvae were negatively impacted by a representative strain of the primary pathogen C. gattii — signifying some yeasts to be natural antagonists of mosquitoes.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Steyn A; Roets F; Botha A
  • Start Page

  • 747
  • End Page

  • 760
  • Volume

  • 71
  • Issue

  • 3