The reproductive cycle of Brugia malayi is a unique and interesting series. The life cycle begins when a mosquito species belonging to the genera Mansonia, Aedes, Culex, and Anopleles ingests the larvae of Burgia malayi, known as the microfilariae (Erickson et al 2009). These mosquitos will consume the sheathed microfilariae from a blood meal of an infected host of B. malayi.

Once the microfilariae are in the mosquito they infiltrate the gut wall of the mosquito where they shed their sheaths. The microfilariae next progress to the thoracic muscles of the mosquito and undergo a series of three molts (CDC 2013). The first larvae stage (L1) consists of short, thick larvae that survive for 5-7 days. The L1 then molt to become the second larvae stage (L2), which are much more active in the thoracic muscles. After another 5-7 days the L2 mature into the infectious third larvae stage (L3) (Brugia malayi Stanford University 2009). Once the third stage is complete the infectious larvae migrate to the proboscis, the needle-like body part of the mosquito used for feeding (AMCA 2013). The third larvae stage can remain living in the probosics for as long as the mosquito remains alive (Erickson et al 2009). This constitutes the life cycle of B. malayi in the mosquito; keep in mind that no sexual reproduction occurs through this part of the life cycle.

Once the infectious larvae are present in the proboscis of the mosquito they are ready to begin the next phase of their lifecycle. When a mosquito takes another blood meal, the L3 aggressively penetrate the skin through the bite wound of typical hosts such as cats, monkeys, forest carnivores, and humans (ADW 2003). Once the infected larvae are in the host they migrate through internal tissues to the lymphatic system. Here the L3 once again molt to become the fourth larva stage (L4). Finally adult Burgia malayi (L5) develop over the course of the next 6 months (Brugia malayi Stanford University 2009). When it’s all said and done B. malayi undergoes a series of 5 molts in the process of becoming an adult.

The male and females now undergo sexual reproduction in which the male twines and coils itself around a female during intercourse. Amazingly a female produces an average of 10,000 eggs everyday. Adult Burgia malayi can survive in the lymphatic system anywhere from 5-15 years and undergo sexual reproduction as long as 8-9 years (Brugia malayi Stanford University 2009).  The product of this sexual reproduction is the sheathed microfilariae, which enter the blood stream of the host. Finally another mosquito will consume a blood meal from an infected host, ingesting the sheathed microfilariae, thus starting the cycle all over again (CDC 2013).  Keep in mind B. malayi is not a free living organsim and cannot survive without a host.  Now that you understand the life cyle of B. malayi, come take a more in-depth look at the interactions it has with its hosts and other organisms.


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