Sleep is an evolutionarily conserved process that has been described in different animal systems. For insects, sleep characterization has been primarily achieved using behavioral and electrophysiological correlates in a few systems. Sleep in mosquitoes, which are important vectors of disease-causing pathogens, has not been directly examined. This is surprising as circadian rhythms, which have been well studied in mosquitoes, influence sleep in other systems. In this study, we characterized sleep in mosquitoes using body posture analysis and behavioral correlates, and quantified the effect of sleep deprivation on sleep rebound, host landing and blood-feeding propensity. Body and appendage position metrics revealed a clear distinction between the posture of mosquitoes in their putative sleep and awake states for multiple species, which correlated with a reduction in responsiveness to host cues. Sleep assessment informed by these posture analyses indicated significantly more sleep during periods of low activity. Night-time and daytime sleep deprivation resulting from the delivery of vibration stimuli induced sleep rebound in the subsequent phase in day and night active mosquitoes, respectively. Lastly, sleep deprivation suppressed host landing in both laboratory and field settings, and impaired blood feeding of a human host when mosquitoes would normally be active. These results suggest that quantifiable sleep states occur in mosquitoes and highlight the potential epidemiological importance of mosquito sleep.

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