Vector-borne parasites such as malaria have been shown to modify the feeding behaviour of their invertebrate hosts so as to increase the probability of transmission. However, evolutionary consideration of developmental changes in malaria within Anopheles mosquitoes suggests that the nature of altered feeding by mosquitoes should differ depending on the developmental stage of the parasite. We present laboratory evidence that the feeding persistence of female Anopheles stephensi towards a human host is decreased in the presence of Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis oocysts (which cannot be transmitted), but increased when the malaria has developed into transmissible sporozoites in the salivary glands. In ten–minute trials, 33% of uninfected mosquitoes gave up their feeding attempt before the test period had ended, 53% of those harbouring oocysts had given up, but only 20% of those infected with sporozoites gave up by this time. We conclude that changes in feeding behaviour of mosquitoes mediated by parasite infection are sensitive to the developmental stage of the parasite and that these changes have important implications for malaria epidemiology.