Oviposition substrate selection by Florida mosquitoes in response to pathogen-infected conspecific larvae



The impact of the presence of larval mosquito pathogens with potential for biological control on oviposition choice was evaluated for three mosquito species/pathogen pairs present in Florida. These included Aedes aegypti infected with Edhazardia aedis, Aedes albopictus infected with Vavraia culicis, and Culex quinquefasciatus infected with Culex nigripalpus nucleopolyhedrovirus (CuniNPV). Two-choice oviposition bioassays were performed on each host and pathogen species with one oviposition cup containing infected larvae and the other cup containing uninfected larvae (control). Both uninfected and E. aedis-infected female Ae. aegypti laid significantly fewer eggs in oviposition cups containing infected larvae. Uninfected gravid female Ae. albopictus and Cx. quinquefasciatus oviposited equally in cups containing uninfected larvae or containing larvae infected with V. culicis or CuniNPV, respectively. Gravid female Ae. albopictus infected with V. culicis did not display ovarian development and did not lay eggs. The decreased oviposition by gravid Ae. aegypti in containers containing E. aedis-infected larvae may indicate that the infected larvae produce chemicals deterring oviposition.