35 Egg Rafts!

The last year has been up and down in terms of establishing a Culex colony in the lab.  We have learned a lot though.  It is critical that they be able to reproduce in the lab in order to maintain colonies.  When we got our first egg raft (the females lay eggs on water in floating "rafts") it was cause for celebration for the lab.  However, we almost lost the colony twice over the summer.  We are trying to keep the descendants from the original ones that reproduce in the lab going and add in fresh wild individuals to prevent inbreeding depression until they are lab adapted.  Jolene has been working on increasing the numbers and we now have individuals in four separate cages in two incubators.  She is now working with ways to get eggs "on demand" because the microinjection procedure can only be done with very fresh eggs.  She arranged this over the last week and expected some eggs this morning.  There were 35 new egg rafts when she came in!  Each raft can easily have 100 eggs so we had well over 3,000 eggs this morning to work with!


There are 25 rafts in this one tray alone!

Update: The next morning there were two smaller rafts.  That puts the number of Culex eggs in the colony this generation at approximately 3,650!

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