Rock pool mosquito ecology of the southern Appalachian Mountains

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Corey Allen Day (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Brian Byrd

Abstract: The North American rock pool mosquito, Aedes atropalpus (Coquillet) (Diptera: Culicidae), isprimarily a non-biting species of no perceived threat to public health. The species uses riverine rock pools for immature development and coinhabits the pools with an invasive disease vector, Aedes japonicus japonicus (Theobald) in the United States (U.S.). Since the establishment of the invasive species in the United States in the 1990’s, several reports of reductions in Ae.atropalpus abundance have led to the hypothesis that the native species is being displaced by theinvasive one. The rock pool system remains largely undescribed, limiting our overallunderstanding of ecological interactions between mosquito species in the system. Here weconducted two studies with the unified objective of improving our fundamental knowledge ofrock pool ecology. First, we conducted a field study to describe rock pool communities andanalyze the seasonality of rock pool mosquitoes. Aedes j. japonicus was present in rock pools atboth sites year-round, with overwintering larvae collected in January and winter hatchlingsobserved in February and March. Early season hatching of Ae. j. japonicus allowed the presence of late instar larvae in pools when the first Ae. atropalpus eggs hatched for the season, creatingpotential for stage-dependent competition between the two species. Such asymmetric competition may be an important factor in the reduction of Ae. atropalpus populations. We also conducted a laboratory study aimed at understanding the impact of developmental temperature on Ae. atropalpus fitness. We measured common fitness correlates to predict the finite population growth rate for the species at three ecologically relevant temperature ranges. The results illustrate that the fitness of the species suffers at relatively cold temperatures where Ae. j. japonicus is commonly found in high relative abundances, but also that the optimal developmental temperature for the native species may be close to that of Ae. j. japonicus. Thecombined results of these laboratory and field studies reinforce prior observations of theimportance of temperature in the invasion ecology of Ae. j. japonicus and reveal novel observations that will inform further study of the system.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Asian bush mosquito, Autogeny, La Crosse, Mosquito, Ochlerotatus atropalpus, Rock Pool
Mosquitoes -- Ecology -- Appalachian Region, Southern
Tide pool ecology -- Appalachian Region, Southern
Mosquitoes -- Effect of temperature on -- Appalachian Region, Southern

Email this document to