Effect of food types on competitive interaction between Aedes aegypti (LINNAEUS, 1762) and Ae. albopictus (SKUSE, 1894) (Diptera, Culicidae): a proximate level appraisal

Sampa Banerjee 1 , Sushree Mohan 1 , Soujita Pramanik 1 , Soumyajit Banerjee 2 , Goutam K. Saha 1 ,  and Gautam Aditya 1
  • 1 Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, 35 Ballygunge Circular Road, , Kolkata , India
  • 2 P.G. Department of Zoology, Serampore College, , Serampore , India

Abstract

Competitive interactions between coexisting Aedes aegypti and Ae. albopictus have been implied as a crucial factor shaping life history traits and population characteristics. The overlap in resource requirements and similarities in the life history strategies of the two Aedes mosquitoes form a basis for competitive interactions. In the present study, the role of the food quality of the larval habitats in influencing the outcome of competition between Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus is evaluated to highlight food quality as a basis for asymmetric competitive outcomes. Instar I larvae of the two mosquitoes were reared using conspecifics or heterospecifics of constant size and equal ratio with four different food types: boiled rice, boiled pulses, a mixture of boiled rice and pulses, and fish food. Competitive interactions were evaluated using age at pupation (AP), pupal weight (PW), dry adult weight (AW) and wing length (WL) with respect to intra- and interspecific competition for the two sexes of each mosquito species. The results show that Ae. albopictus developed faster but achieved a smaller size compared to Ae. aegypti under interspecific competition conditions, the extent of the difference varying significantly with the food type. Given the variety of food resources available in the small container larval habitats, the results of the study imply that food quality may act differentially with respect to larval development and adult body size, depending on the conspecifics or heterospecifics and on the sex of the species concerned. The dominance of one species over the other may also be a consequence of the resource utilization pattern that varies in the larval habitats.

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