The effects of land use and larval density on Aedes albopictus population dynamics

Carl Hintz, a student from North Carolina State University, worked with Emily Cook in the lab of Dr. Courtney Murdock to examine mosquito larvae dynamics.

Abstract:  The Asian Tiger Mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is nonnative to North America and is a vector of Dengue virus (DENV) and Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) in humans.  Like most other mosquito species, A. albopictus larvae develop in small pools of stagnant water and adult A. albopictus typically disperse less than 100 meters. Due to this life history, fine-scale variation in microclimate and larval habitat may have a substantial impact on population characteristics.  We use a semi-field study to examine the impact of land use and larval density on traits that are relevant for the population dynamics of A. albopictus. We examine larval development and adult characteristics at nine field sites in Athens-Clarke County, GA.  Sites are classified as urban, suburban and rural based on amount of impervious surface. Mosquito development rate (MDR) and probability egg to adult survival (PEA) are determined from daily adult emergence. The number of eggs per females per day (EFD) is inferred from wing length data. A. albopictus at urban sites have lower survival, faster development, and smaller body size than those at rural or suburban sites. This difference may result from substantially higher mean temperatures at urban sites. High density replicates have lower survival, slower development, and smaller body size, possibly due to limited food resources. Compared with differences in land use, larval density has a larger impact on A. albopictus population dynamics, but both factors have important consequences for mosquito population dynamics and could be incorporated to improve the accuracy of vector population models.

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