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Asymmetrical competition and patterns of abundance of Aedes albopictus and Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae)
- Costanzo, K.S., Mormann, K., Juliano, S.A.
- Journal of medical entomology 2005 v.42 no.4 pp. 559-570
- Aedes albopictus, Culex pipiens, larvae, interspecific competition, mortality, insect development, population growth, population density, spatial distribution, habitats, oviposition sites, seasonal variation, Illinois
- We tested for competitive advantage among larvae of Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and Culex pipiens L. in a laboratory experiment and determined the frequency and spatial and temporal patterns of co-occurrence in the field in East St. Louis, IL. In a laboratory competition experiment at multiple combined densities of Ae. albopictus and Cx. pipiens larvae, Ae. albopictus survivorship and developmental times were significantly affected by conspecific densities but not by Cx. pipiens densities. In contrast, Cx. pipiens survivorship and developmental times were significantly affected by both conspecific and Ae. albopictus densities. Per capita rate of increase (r') for Ae. albopictus cohorts declined significantly due to density of conspecifics, but not density of Cx. pipiens. Interspecific competition between Ae. albopictus and Cx. pipiens under these laboratory conditions was strong and asymmetrical, with the effect of Ae. albopictus on Cx. pipiens much stronger than the reverse. In monthly samples from tire sites in East St. Louis, Ae. albopictus was highly seasonal, occurring in relatively low abundance from early May to July and increasing in abundance in August and September. Co-occurrence corresponded to the seasonality of Ae. albopictus, with Cx. pipiens encountering Ae. albopictus in more tires and at higher numbers within a tire, in August and September. Abundance of both species was high in residential areas and was unrelated to overstory cover, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus. Abundance of Ae. albopictus, but not of Cx. pipiens, was positively associated with conductivity. We expect Cx. pipiens to suffer from the effects of interspecific competition in tires in which it encounters Ae. albopictus. Interspecific competition between these species may be of both ecological and medical importance.