Experimental evidence for predation risk sensitive oviposition by a mosquito, Culiseta longiareolata


Leon Blaustein, Laboratory for Community Ecology, Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Haifa 31905, Israel. E-mail: leon@research.haifa.ac.il


1. Females should choose to oviposit in habitats where risk of predation and competition are low. The ovipositional responses of a mosquito, Culiseta longiareolata, to a predator and to species sharing the same trophic level as this mosquito (controphic species) were assessed experimentally in outdoor artificial pools.

2. The predator, larval Anax imperator, which strongly reduced larval C. longiareolata survival, resulted in a 52% reduction of C. longiareolata egg rafts. The controphic species (primarily Daphnia magna), which had a small but statistically significant negative effect on the survival of C. longiareolata larvae, did not have a statistically significant influence on the number of egg rafts.

3. Laboratory trials indicated that only a small fraction of the reduced number of egg rafts seen in predator pools may be due to consumption of the egg rafts by A. imperator.

4. The experimental evidence indicates that the reduced number of C. longiareolata egg rafts found in the presence of A. imperator is due largely to oviposition habitat selection, i.e. C. longiareolata females choose pools with low risk of predation for their offspring.