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An eco-physiological model of the impact of temperature on Aedes aegypti life history traits
- Padmanabha, Harish, Correa, Fabio, Legros, Mathieu, Nijhout, H. Fredrick, Lord, Cynthia, Lounibos, L. Philip
- Journal of insect physiology 2012 v.58 no.12 pp. 1597-1608
- Aedes aegypti, biomass, climate, dengue, ecophysiology, energy, environmental factors, field experimentation, finishing, human behavior, insect vectors, laboratory experimentation, life history, models, mortality, population dynamics, prediction, risk, starvation, temperature, urban population
- Physiological processes mediate the impact of ecological conditions on the life histories of insect vectors. For the dengue/chikungunya mosquito, Aedes aegypti, three life history traits that are critical to urban population dynamics and control are: size, development rate and starvation mortality. In this paper we make use of prior laboratory experiments on each of these traits at 2°C intervals between 20 and 30°C, in conjunction with eco-evolutionary theory and studies on A.aegypti physiology, in order to develop a conceptual and mathematical framework that can predict their thermal sensitivity. Our model of reserve dependent growth (RDG), which considers a potential tradeoff between the accumulation of reserves and structural biomass, was able to robustly predict laboratory observations, providing a qualitative improvement over the approach most commonly used in other A.aegypti models. RDG predictions of reduced size at higher temperatures, but increased reserves relative to size, are supported by the available evidence in Aedes spp. We offer the potentially general hypothesis that temperature-size patterns in mosquitoes are driven by a net benefit of finishing the growing stage with proportionally greater reserves relative to structure at warmer temperatures. By relating basic energy flows to three fundamental life history traits, we provide a mechanistic framework for A.aegypti development to which ecological complexity can be added. Ultimately, this could provide a framework for developing and field testing hypotheses on how processes such as climate variation, density dependent regulation, human behavior or control strategies may influence A.aegypti population dynamics and disease risk.