The Prediapause Stage of Aedes japonicus japonicus and the Evolution of Embryonic Diapause in Aedini
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The genus Aedes is well known for its desiccation-resistant eggs, which frequently serve as an overwintering mechanism through diapause. Despite this, relatively little is known about the diapause and overwintering biology of most Aedes species including Aedes japonicus japonicus, an invasive mosquito in the United States. The importance of this mosquito in disease systems like La Crosse virus remain uncertain. Embryonic diapause is used by Ae. j. japonicus to survive temperate winters, and the persistence of this species in the Appalachian region is a result of overwintering, which has important implications for the transmission of this virus to humans. The objective of this study was to identify the prediapause stage, or the stage sensitive to environmental cues needed to induce diapause in this mosquito. By exposing each Ae. j. japonicus life stage independently to short-day photoperiods, we determined that the adult maternal life stage is the prediapause stage. Using the most recent phylogeny and prior literature on the prediapause stages in the genus Aedes, we were able to infer the evolutionary history of the prediapause stages of Aedes mosquitoes that overwinter or aestivate as eggs. This initial ancestral state reconstruction allowed us to hypothesize that Aedini mosquitoes that undergo obligate diapause may have evolved from those utilizing the embryonic prediapause stage, and that the ancestral prediapause state of Aedini appears to be maternally controlled.