, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 93-104

Habitat stability and the larval mosquito community in treeholes and other containers on a temperate Island

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The temporal fluctuation of water levels and the presence of mosquito larvae were investigated for four types of small container habitats (treeholes, bamboo stumps, cemetery stone vases, and cemetery stone vessels) on Kabeshima Island in Kyushu, southwestern Japan. The probability that containers held water was positively correlated with the quantity of the preceding rainfall and with the depth and volume of the containers. It was estimated that dehydration occurred more regularly in autumn and winter than in summer. The probability that mosquito larvae were present in each type of container was positively correlated with habitat stability in terms of the probability of the existence of standing water and the coefficient of variation of the water level. Twelve species of mosquito larvae, including two rare predators, were found. Species composition differed between the different types of container. Although 4 to 10 species used each type of container, the median number of species per container was two for treeholes and bamboo stumps, and one for the others. The dominant species wasTripteroides bambusa in treeholes and bamboo stumps,Aedes albopictus in stone vases, andA. japonicus in stone vessels. The larval mosquito community, which lacked major predators, possessed the following features that may facilitate the coexistence of many species: (1) niche segregation amongst species in terms of their selection of container types; (2) an aggregated distribution of the individual species among containers of the same type; (3) high intraspecific mean crowding (and hence probably intense intraspecific competition) in the dominant species in each type of container; (4) independent species associations within the same type of container; and (5) low interspecific mean crowding (and hence probablynot intense interspecific competition) between species in the same type of container.