Aedes albopictus has been shown to out-compete Aedes aegypti and has probably excluded Ae. aegypti from parts of its North American range. This advantage seems to result from superior ability in resource competition. We tested the hypotheses that these species overlap in feeding behavior, but differ in survival and developmental progress with the same resource availability. We video recorded behavior of 4th instar larvae in three food environments (food in fluid only, food on leaf surfaces only, or food in both forms). We recorded position (bottom, wall, leaf, top, middle) and activity (browsing, filtering, resting, thrashing) for 30 minutes. There were significant interspecific differences in positions occupied, but their modes of feeding were identical in all three environments, indicating strong feeding overlap. A second experiment investigated survival and developmental progress for individuals raised in four food limited environments defined by combinations of Live Oak leaf litter (Low, High) and access (no access, or access to the litter). Access to the leaf was controlled using 0.5 mm mesh, which allowed movement of microorganisms, but prevented mosquito larvae from contacting leaves. After 30 days, both species had greater survivorship when given access to leaves. In all treatments, Ae. albopictus had greater survivorship at 30 days than did Ae. aegypti, indicating Ae. albopictus is superior in its ability to harvest and to use food resources. A final experiment tested whether prior exploitation of food resources by one species negatively affected the survival and development of the other species.
Species 1: Diptera Culicidae Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito)
Species 2: Diptera Culicidae Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito)
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