, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 507–514

Drought and the organization of tree-hole mosquito communities

  • W. E. Bradshaw
  • C. M. Holzapfel
Original Papers


In southeastern North America (North Florida, USA), the duration, frequency, and timing of drought differentially affect the survivorship of pre-adult tree-hole mosquitoes. Drought affects survivorship both by the direct action of dehydration on developing larvae and pupae and by the indirect modulation of predation. The drought-susceptible species, Toxorhynchites rutilus, Orthopodomyia signifera, and Anopheles barberi co-occur in more permanent holes that are larger, with larger, more vertical openings, lower down in larger trees, and contain darker water with higher conductivity, pH, and tannin-lignin content than the holes occupied by Aedes triseriatus that has drought-resistant eggs and rapid larval development. Ovipositing mosquitoes cue on physical and chemical attributes of tree holes independently of host tree species. These same attributes differ among drought-prone and drought-resistant holes but mosquitoes track these attributes more faithfully than the attributes predict tree-hole stability.

Key words

Competition Predation Disturbance Stability 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bentley MD, McDaniel IN, Lee HP, Stiehl B, Yatagai M (1976) Studies of Aedes triseriatus oviposition attractants produced by larvae of Aedes triseriatus and Aedes atropalpus (Diptera: Culicidae). J Med Entomol 13:112–115Google Scholar
  2. Bentley M, McDaniel IN, Yatagai M, Lee HP, Maynard R (1979) p-cresol: An oviposition attractant of Aedes triseriatus. Environ Entomol 8:201–209Google Scholar
  3. Bentley MD, McDaniel IN, Yatagai M, Lee HP, Maynard R (1981) Oviposition attractants and stimulants of Aedes triseriatus (Say) (Diptera: Culicidae). Environ Entomol 10:186–189Google Scholar
  4. Bradshaw WE, Holzapfel CM (1983) Predator-mediated, non-equilibrium coexistence of tree-hole mosquitoes in southeastern North America. Oecologia (Berlin) 57:239–256Google Scholar
  5. Bradshaw WE, Holzapfel CM (1984) Seasonal development of tree-hole mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) and Chaoborids in relation to weather and predation. J Med Entomol 21:366–378Google Scholar
  6. Bradshaw WE, Holzapfel CM (1986) Habitat segregation among European tree-hole mosquitoes. Nat Geogr Res 2:167–178Google Scholar
  7. Carpenter S (1982) Stemflow chemistry: Effects on population dynamics of detritivorous mosquitoes in tree-hole ecosystems. Oecologia (Berlin) 53:1–6Google Scholar
  8. Carpenter S (1983) Resource limitation of larval tree-hole mosquitoes subsisting on beech detritus. Ecology 64:219–223Google Scholar
  9. Chambers RC (1985) Competition and predation among larvae of three species of tree hole breeding mosquitoes. In: Lounibos LP, Rey JR, Frank JH (eds) Ecology of mosquitoes: Proceedings of a workshop. Vero Beach: Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, pp 25–53Google Scholar
  10. Connell JH (1983) On the prevalence and relative importance of interspecific competition: evidence from field experiments. Amer Nat 122:661–696Google Scholar
  11. Dodson SI (1970) Complementary feeding niches sustained by sizeselective predation. Lim Oceanogr 15:131–137Google Scholar
  12. Fish D, Carpenter SR (1982) Leaf litter and larval mosquito dynamics in tree-hole ecosystems. Ecology 63:283–288Google Scholar
  13. Hall DJ, Cooper WE, Werner EE (1970) An experimental approach to the production dynamics and structure of freshwater animal communities. Lim Oceanogr 15:829–828Google Scholar
  14. Hawley WA (1985a) Population dynamics of Aedes sierrensis. In: Lounibos LP, Rey JR, Frank JH (eds) Ecology of mosquitoes: Proceedings of a workshop. Vero Beach: Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, pp 167–184Google Scholar
  15. Hawley WA (1985b) Size variation in a mosquito: Implications for population dynamics and disease transmission. J Anim Ecol 54:955–964Google Scholar
  16. Livdahl TP (1982) Competition within and between hatching cohorts of a tree-hole mosquito. Ecology 63:1751–1760Google Scholar
  17. Lounibos LP (1983) The mosquito community of treeholes in subtropical Florida. In: Frank JH, Lounibos LP (eds) Phytotelmata: Terrestrial plants as hosts of aquatic insect communities. Medford, NJ: Plexus Publishing 1983, pp 223–246Google Scholar
  18. Lounibos LP (1985) Interactions influencing production of treehole mosquitoes in south Florida. In: Lounibos LP, Rey JR, Frank JH (eds) Ecology of mosquitoes: Proceedings of a workshop. Vero Beach: Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, pp 65–77Google Scholar
  19. Lunt SR, Peters GE (1976) Distribution and ecology of tree-hole mosquitoes along the Missouri and Platte Rivers in Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. Mosq News 36:80–84Google Scholar
  20. McDaniel IN, Bentley MD, Lee HP, Yatagai M (1976) Effects of color and larval-produced oviposition attractants on oviposition of Aedes triseriatus. Environ Entomol 5:553–556Google Scholar
  21. McDaniel IN, Bentley MD, Lee HP, Yatagai M (1979) Studies of Aedes triseriatus (Diptera: Culicidae) oviposition attractants. Evidence for attractant production by kaolin-treated larvae. Can Entomol 11:143–147Google Scholar
  22. McLachlan AJ, Cantrell MA (1980) Survival strategies in tropical rain pools. Oecologia (Berlin) 47:344–351Google Scholar
  23. Mitchell L, Rockett CL (1981) An investigation on the larval habitat of five species of tree-hole breeding mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae). Great Lakes Entomol 14:123–129Google Scholar
  24. Peterson JJ, Chapman HC (1969) Chemical factors of water in tree holes and related breeding of mosquitoes. Mosq News 29:29–36Google Scholar
  25. Schoener TW (1983) Field experiments on interspecific competition. Am Nat 122:240–285Google Scholar
  26. Slaff ME, Reilly JJ, Crans WJ (1975) Colonization of the predacious mosquito, Toxorhynchites rutilus septentrionalis (Dyar & Knab). Pro New Jersey Mosq Exterm Assoc 62:146–148Google Scholar
  27. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1969) Biometry. San Francisco: W.H. FreemanGoogle Scholar
  28. Sprules G (1972) Effects of size-selective predation and food competition on high altitude zooplankton communities. Ecology 53:375–386Google Scholar
  29. Trimble RM (1979) Laboratory observations on oviposition by the predaceous tree-hole mosquito, Toxorhynchites rutilus septentrionalis. Can Zool 57:1104–1108Google Scholar
  30. Wilbur HM (1984) Complex life cycles and community organization in amphibians. In: Price PW, Slobodchikoff CN, Gaud WS (eds) A New Ecology. New York, John Wiley & Sons, pp 195–224Google Scholar
  31. Wilton DP (1968) Oviposition site selection by the tree-hole mosquito, Aedes triseriatus (Say). J Med Entomol 5:189–194Google Scholar
  32. Zaim M, Newson HD (1979) Larval development and oviposition behavior of Aedes triseriatus (Diptera: Culicidae) as affected by varying concentrations of sodium chloride and calcium nitrate in the water. Environ Entomol 8:326–329Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. E. Bradshaw
    • 1
  • C. M. Holzapfel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

Personalised recommendations