J Med Entomol 2019 04;56(3):708-715
Crop Bioprotection Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Peoria, IL.
Aedes aegypti L. and Aedes albopictus Skuse co-occur in a variety of water-filled containers where they compete for resources. Larvae of Ae. albopictus Skuse often outcompete those of Ae. aegypti L., but variation in biotic and abiotic parameters can modify the outcome of this interspecific competition. We tested whether container size can alter the magnitude and direction of intra- and interspecific competition by rearing three Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus larval combinations (100:0, 50:50 and 0:100) in three container sizes (small, medium, and large). For both mosquito species, individuals raised in small- and medium-sized containers had shorter development time to adulthood, higher survival to adulthood, and larger adult body size compared to individuals from large containers. For Ae. aegypti but not Ae. albopictus, survival to adulthood was significantly influenced by a two-way interaction between container size and larval competition. The negative effect of interspecific competition was stronger in the small and medium containers and the negative effect of intraspecific competition was stronger in large containers. Our results show that container size can affect the outcome of intra- and interspecific competition between Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus and may help account for the observed patterns of both competitive exclusion and coexistence documented in the field for these two medically important mosquito species.