Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Donald Yee

Committee Chair Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 2

Kevin Kuehn

Committee Member 2 Department

Biological Sciences

Committee Member 3

Carl Qualls

Committee Member 3 Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Water body parameters have a considerable effect on the communities that develop within them. In small container habitats like tires, the depth, surface area, and volume effect the development and success of the mosquito communities. This study investigated the choices of the adult female mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus and Culex quinquefasciatus, between different depths and surface areas. In addition, larval performance was determined under differing depth and larvae densities. Oviposition studies showed that Ae. albopictus had a preference for deeper habitats (χ2= 14.2902, p= 0.0139) but did not prefer any surface areas (χ2= 7.2321, p= 0.0649) though there was a trend that indicated that there could be a preference for larger surface area. Conversely, Culex quinquefasciatus was shown to be sensitive to surface areas (χ2= 11.1419, p= 0.0110) but not depth (χ2= 9.9828, p= 0.0757). Larval densities affected the population growth, represented by λ’, of Aedes albopictus (F3,15= 19.3786, p< 0.0001) where higher densities of larvae depressed λ’ values. Culex quinquefasciatus had significant differences in the interaction of larval density and depth (F9,15= 3.2870, p= 0.0204) between the low λ’ 10:10 and the high λ’ 0:5 densities. Within the 10:10 density, differences were found in λ’ with higher growth in the 7 cm depth compared to the 14 cm depth. Additionally, the 14 cm depth produced heavier female depth produced heavier female Ae. albopictus than 7 cm depths (F3,15= 3.3160, p= 0.0488). Overall, it was shown that Ae. albopictus prefer deeper habitats while ovipositing and although this does not seem to confer greater population growth, it does result in larger female mosquitoes. In addition, Ae albopictus depressed the population growth of Cx. quinquefasciatus in high larval densities.

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