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Keywords:

  • Aedes camptorhynchus;
  • biosecurity;
  • hatching;
  • longevity;
  • mosquito egg

The Australian saltmarsh mosquito, Aedes camptorhynchus (Diptera: Culicidae), is a significant biting pest and disease vector and is the subject of an eradication programme in New Zealand (NZ), where it has been resident for more than 10 years. To better understand the ecology of this common and widespread pest, we studied egg longevity and hatching patterns in the laboratory. By regularly testing for the presence of viable embryos, we found that eggs may last more than 15 months when stored dry (13% viable at this time). Eggs display instalment hatching, with no more than 56% of a batch hatching upon first inundation. Further hatching may occur for at least six inundations and some unhatched eggs may remain viable even after this. Variation in hatching rates can be observed using different water types, with weaker hatching media stimulating lower hatching rates spread over more inundations. By applying average hatching rates to a non-linear model of natural egg attrition, we showed that egg batches exposed to three inundations should be exhausted (zero live eggs present) in approximately 11 months at the conditions tested here. These findings have implications for the current eradication programme for Ae. camptorhynchus in NZ and for our understanding of the ecology of a widespread and common disease vector in Australia.