Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 493–502

Imperfect oviposition decisions by the pitcher plant mosquito (Wyeomyia smithii)

  • Stephen B. Heard

DOI: 10.1007/BF01238254

Cite this article as:
Heard, S.B. Evol Ecol (1994) 8: 493. doi:10.1007/BF01238254


Wyeomyia smithii mosquitoes distribute their eggs across available oviposition sites (water-holding pitcher plant leaves) of varying quality. I experimentally examined responses to three components of site quality: conspecific larval density, larval density of the pitcher plant midge,Metriocnemus knabi, and pitcher size. Responses to larval treatments were complex and apparently suboptimal. Although mosquito larval performance is better in leaves with fewer conspecific and more midge larvae, females did not lay more eggs in such pitchers. Instead, more eggs were laid in experimental pitchers containing either midge or mosquito larvae, but fewer eggs in pitchers with neither or both. More eggs were laid in larger pitchers, which tend to accumulate more resources and dry out less often. Therefore, although the oviposition decisions made were suboptimal, they were better than random.


optimal offspring distribution oviposition behaviour pitcher plant mosquitoes Wyeomyia smithii 

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen B. Heard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada