Date of Award
Honors College Thesis
Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) and Aedes aegypti (yellow fever mosquito) are two mosquito species that are non-native to North America and are of medical importance. Both species can be found in aquatic container habitats, such as discarded tires and tree holes. In container habitats, the influx of detritus from the outside environment is essential to mosquito production and can include a variety of plant and animal material. Seeds from oak trees (acorns) can seasonally contribute to the detritus of these container habitats. This study examined the effect of acorns from the southern live oak (Quercus virginiana) on the performance of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus. Amounts of acorns were compared to oak leaves, which were based on tire samples from Mississippi. The mean, 50% of the mean, and 200% of the mean were used for each type alone, along with two asymmetrical mixtures of leaf and acorn. Tannins, secondary plant compounds that discourage herbivory, were measured across all treatment levels, and the levels were compared between leaf and acorn. Survival and λ’ (an estimation of populations growth) were used to evaluate performance of Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti. A significant treatment effect was observed among tannin levels, with more detritus leading to higher tannins; there were no difference in tannins between detritus types. In addition, I found a significant treatment effect on survival of both mosquito species. Survival was the lowest in the mean acorn treatment regardless of species. Values for λ’ between both species did not vary detritus types or amounts. Thus, although under certain circumstances acorns could limit mosquito performance, generally acorns and leaves represent similar resources for developing container Aedes.
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Rogers, Rachel, "Effects of Acorns on Populations of Aedes Mosquitoes" (2018). Honors Theses. 569.