Biological Invasions

, Volume 12, Issue 7, pp 2319–2328 | Cite as

Invasive leaf resources alleviate density dependence in the invasive mosquito, Aedes albopictus

  • Michael H. ReiskindEmail author
  • Ali A. Zarrabi
  • L. Philip Lounibos
Original Paper


Interactions between invasive species can have important consequences for the speed and impact of biological invasions. Containers occupied by the invasive mosquito, Aedes albopictus Skuse, may be sensitive to invasive plants whose leaves fall into this larval habitat. To examine the potential for interactions between invasive leaf species and larval A. albopictus, we conducted a field survey of leaf material found with A. albopictus in containers in Palm Beach County, Florida and measured density dependent responses of A. albopictus larvae to two invasive and one native leaf species in laboratory experiments. We found increased diversity of leaf species, particularly invasive species, in areas further from the urbanized coast, and a significant positive association between the presence of Schinus terebinthifolious (Brazilian pepper) and the abundance of A. albopictus. In laboratory experiments, we determined that larval growth and survivorship were significantly affected by both larval density and leaf species which, in turn, resulted in higher population performance on the most abundant invasive species (Brazilian pepper) relative to the most abundant native species, Quercus virginiana (live oak). These results suggest invasive leaf species can alleviate density dependent reductions in population performance in A. albopictus, and may contribute to its invasion success and potential to spread infectious disease.


Vector Florida Live oak Brazilian pepper Australian pine Asian tiger mosquito 



The authors wish to thank Naoya Nishimura and Krystle Greene for measuring the wing lengths of the mosquitoes in the microcosm experiments and for assisting with identifying leaf material from the field. We thank Talan Klein for assisting with the microcosm experiments and mounting wings. We also wish to thank Dr. George O’Meara, Dr. Eric Rebek and Dr. George Opit for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. We thank Dr. Kris Giles for the use of his microbalance. This research was funded by NIH grant 5R01AI-044793 to LPL, and by the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station (MSS “NE-507” Hatch Project # 2712 and OAES Hatch Project #2702 to MHR). The authors also wish to thank an anonymous referee for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael H. Reiskind
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ali A. Zarrabi
    • 1
  • L. Philip Lounibos
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Entomology and Plant PathologyOklahoma State UniversityStillwaterUSA
  2. 2.Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, Department of Entomology and NematologyUniversity of FloridaVero BeachUSA

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