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Understanding the endogenous factors that drive the population dynamics of malaria mosquitoes will facilitate more accurate predictions about vector control effectiveness and our ability to destabilize the growth of either low- or high-density insect populations. We assessed whether variation in phenotypic traits predict the dynamics of Anopheles gambiae sensu lato mosquitoes, the most important vectors of human malaria. Anopheles gambiae dynamics were monitored over a six-month period of seasonal
growth and decline. The population exhibited density-dependent feedback, with the carrying capacity being modified by rainfall (97% wAICc support). The individual phenotypic expression of the maternal (p 1⁄4 0.0001) and current (p 1⁄4 0.040) body size positively influenced population growth. Our field-based evidence uniquely demonstrates that individual fitness can have population-level impacts and, furthermore, can mitigate the impact of exogenous drivers (e.g. rainfall) in species whose reproduction depends upon it. Once frontline interventions have suppressed mosquito densities, attempts to eliminate malaria with supplementary vector control tools may be attenuated by increased population growth and individual fitness.