Interactions with native mosquito larvae regulate the production of Aedes albopictus from bromeliads in Florida

Authors


*P. Lounibos (until 12 December 2003): Section of Ecology and Evolution, 2320 Storer Hall, University of California, Davis CA 95616, U.S.A. E-mail: lplounibos@ucdavis. edu; (after 12 December 2003): University of Florida, 200 9th St. SE, Vero Beach FL 32962, U.S.A. E-mail: Lounibos@ufl.edu

Abstract

Abstract. 1. Immatures of the invasive container mosquito Aedes albopictus occur in water-holding tanks and axils of ornamental bromeliads in Florida, where this species established and became abundant in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

2. The numbers of A. albopictus in bromeliads in gardens vary geographically in Florida, being significantly higher in northern sites where two species of Wyeomyia mosquitoes, native specialists of this microhabitat, are absent.

3. Causes of the negative relationship between abundances of A. albopictus and Wyeomyia spp. were investigated experimentally using Billbergia pyramidalis, an introduced bromeliad popular in Florida gardens.

4. Egg laying by A. albopictus in B. pyramidalis confined in a large outdoor cage was unaffected by the presence or absence of Wyeomyia spp. fourth instars, indicating that immatures of the native bromeliad mosquito species do not deter oviposition by the invasive species in this microhabitat.

5. Growth and survivorship of A. albopictus first instars in tanks of B. pyramidalis were negatively affected by the presence of fourth instar, but not first instar, Wyeomyia spp. larvae at natural densities. Stimulative effects of leaf litter on A. albopictus growth and survivorship in this microhabitat were independent of the presence or absence of Wyeomyia spp. immatures.

6. These results demonstrate that interspecific larval interactions regulate the production and explain the geographic patterns in abundance of A. albopictus from ornamental bromeliads in Florida.

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