Behavioral Differences Among Four Co-Occurring Species of Container Mosquito Larvae: Effects of Depth and Resource Environments

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Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


Mosquito larvae often exhibit different behaviors depending on the aspects of the aquatic environment, including the presence of different physical factors and detrital food sources. Regardless of these physical differences, different genera also devote different amounts of time to different behaviors. To determine if differences existed among four focal mosquito species (Aedes albopictus (Singh), Aedes triseriatus (Say), Culex quinquefasciatus (Say), Culex coronator Dyar & Knab), we recorded behaviors under different food environments (animal detritus, leaf detritus, and inoculum + inert material) and depths (shallow and deep). Based on past work, we predicted that larval mosquitoes in the genus Culex would spend more time filtering or resting at the surface of containers, whereas Aedes mosquitoes would spend more time browsing on surfaces. Behaviors were recorded for 30 min and were used to generate instantaneous scan census of behavior (thrashing, browsing, and resting or filtering) and locations (top, middle, bottom, wall, and detritus) of each larva every minute. There were significant differences in behaviors among the three detritus types and the four species (Culex generally different than Aedes), as well as a significant interaction between depth and detritus type. Consistent with predictions, Culex species spent more time filtering or resting, whereas Aedes larvae spent more time browsing on detritus. However, all four species changed their behavior similarly among the different environments, and Cx. coronator exhibited some similar behaviors as the two Aedes species. These behavioral differences may aid in explaining performance differences between different species and outcomes of interspecific encounters, which in turn can affect adult emergence and patterns of disease.

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Journal of Medical Entomology





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