Wetlands provide a variety of services to society; however, their use as breeding habitat by mosquitoes has caused concern that they pose a risk to human health. As mosquito-borne diseases are undergoing a global resurgence, there is a need to better understand the factors that influence mosquito production in wetlands. Seasonal pools offer a model system in which to study mosquito production as they provide breeding habitat for many mosquito species. In the northeastern US, larval spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) and wood frog tadpoles (Lithobates sylvaticus) are common in pools and may affect mosquito growth and survival through predation or competition. To determine if these species interact, we conducted surveys of pools and found that larval mosquitoes were less abundant in pools with higher densities of larval salamanders. Experiments on mosquito oviposition and survival found that mosquitoes avoided ovipositing in habitats containing larval salamanders and tadpoles and had low survival in the presence of salamanders. These data indicate that predation by larval salamanders may influence the breeding distribution of mosquitoes by imposing selective pressure on ovipositing adults. Therefore, developing measures to protect amphibians in seasonal pools may contribute to controlling mosquito production in wetlands, potentially minimizing disease risk to humans.
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We thank J. Kokas for assistance with mosquito identification and A. Cochran and J. Cochran for assistance with field work. Financial support was provided by the NSF REU Site program (#0552630 to J. D. Wehr and J. D. Lewis) and by the Louis Calder Center-Biological Field Station of Fordham University.
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Rubbo, M.J., Lanterman, J.L., Falco, R.C. et al. The Influence of Amphibians on Mosquitoes in Seasonal Pools: Can Wetlands Protection Help to Minimize Disease Risk?. Wetlands 31, 799–804 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-011-0198-z