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Keywords:

  • Anti-predatory behaviour;
  • Aedes albopictus;
  • Corethrella appendiculata;
  • invasive;
  • native species;
  • Ochlerotatus triseriatus;
  • predation cues and size refuge

Abstract 1. The hypothesis that size-selective predation and species-specific prey behaviours facilitate the coexistence between larvae of invasive Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and U.S.A.-native Ochlerotatus triseriatus (Say) was tested experimentally with the predator Corethrella appendiculata (Grabham).

2. Larval behaviours associated with a higher risk of predation were identified, and prey behavioural responses were tested in either the physical presence of predators or in water containing predation cues. Larvae that thrashed on container bottoms had a higher risk of being captured by fourth instar C. appendiculata than did larvae resting on the water surface. Ochlerotatus triseriatus, but not A. albopictus, adopted low-risk behaviours in response to water-borne cues to predation. Both prey species reduced risky behaviours in the physical presence of the predator, but O. triseriatus showed a stronger response.

3. The vulnerability of 2nd and 3rd instar prey to predation was compared, and behavioural responses were correlated with prey vulnerability. Second instars of both species were more vulnerable to predation by C. appendiculata than were 3rd instars, and the 3rd instar A. albopictus was more vulnerable than O. triseriatus of the same stage. All instars of O. triseriatus showed a similar reduction of risky behaviours in response to the presence of C. appendiculata despite 4th instar prey being relatively invulnerable to size-selective predation.

4. Weaker predator avoidance, coupled with superior competitive ability, of invasive A. albopictus is likely to contribute to its coexistence with O. triseriatus in containers of the south-eastern U.S.A., where C. appendiculata can be abundant.