Competition and growth among Aedes aegypti larvae: effects of distributing food inputs over time

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Kurt Steinwascher


Male and female mosquito larvae compete for different subsets of the yeast food resource in laboratory microcosms. Males compete more intensely with males and females with females. The amount and timing of food inputs alters both growth and competition, but the effects are different between sexes. Increased density increases competition among males. Among females, density operates primarily by changing the food/larva or total food; this affects competition in some interactions and growth in others. Food added earlier in the life span contributes more to mass than the same quantity added later. After a period of starvation larvae appear to use some of the subsequent food input to rebuild physiological reserves in addition to building mass. The timing of pupation is affected by the independent factors and competition, but not in the same way for the two sexes, and not in the same way as mass at pupation for the two sexes. There is an effect of density on the timing of pupation for females independent of competition or changes in food/larva or total food. Male and female larvae have different larval life history strategies. Males grow quickly to a minimum size, then pupate, depending on the amount of food available. Mal...Continue Reading

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