Leaf detritus alters survival, fitness, and oviposition site selection of the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae)

Monday, November 11, 2013: 11:00 AM
Meeting Room 17 B (Austin Convention Center)
Allison Gardner , Department of Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Brian F. Allan , Entomology, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
Ephantus J. Muturi , University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
Detritus from terrestrial plants is a major component of container-breeding mosquito habitat, providing an important energy source for larvae developing in the freshwater aquatic environment. We conducted laboratory and field experiments to test the hypothesis that leaf detritus of six common native and invasive shrubs asymmetrically affect the survival, development, and oviposition site selection of the house mosquito, Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae). The highest emergence rates and shortest time to eclosion were observed in mosquitoes reared in honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata) infused water, while the lowest emergence rates and longest time to eclosion were observed in blackberry (Rubus spp.) and multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) infusions. However, presented with a choice of substrates in field experiments, the largest proportion of mosquitoes oviposited in blackberry-infused water. Ongoing research seeks to identify ecological mechanisms that may reconcile this disconnect between mosquito oviposition choice and favorability to fitness of progeny.
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