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Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


Allocation patterns of carbon and nitrogen in animals are influenced by food quality and quantity, as well as by inherent metabolic and physiological constraints within organisms. Whole body stoichiometry also may vary between the sexes who differ in development rates and reproductive allocation patterns. In aquatic containers, such as tree holes and tires, detrital inputs, which vary in amounts of carbon and nitrogen, form the basis of the mosquito-dominated food web. Differences in development times and mass between male and female mosquitoes may be the result of different reproductive constraints, which could also influence patterns of nutrient allocation. We examined development time, survival, and adult mass for males and females of three co-occurring species, Aedes albopictus, Ae. aegypti, and Culex quinquefasciatus, across environments with different ratios of animal and leaf detritus. We quantified the contribution of detritus to biomass using stable isotope analysis and measured tissue carbon and nitrogen concentrations among species and between the sexes. Development times were shorter and adults were heavier for Aedes in animal versus leaf-only environments, whereas Culex development times were invariant across detritus types. Aedes displayed similar survival across detritus types whereas C. quinquefasciatus showed decreased survival with increasing leaf detritus. All species had lower values of 15N and 13C in leaf-only detritus compared to animal, however, Aedes generally had lower tissue nitrogen compared to C. quinquefasciatus. There were no differences in the C:N ratio between male and female Aedes, however, Aedes were different than C. quinquefasciatus adults, with male C. quinquefasciatus significantly higher than females. Culex quinquefasciatus was homeostatic across detrital environments. These results allow us to hypothesize an underlying stoichiometric explanation for the variation in performance of different container species under similar detrital environments, and if supported may assist in explaining the production of vector populations in nature.

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