Effects of larval density on a natural population of Culex restuans (Diptera: Culicidae): no evidence of compensatory mortality

Geoffrey D. Ower, Steven A. Juliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. This study investigated the effects of strong density dependence on larval growth, development, and survival of the mosquito Culex restuans (Theobald). It also tested the hypothesis that density reduction early in larval development could result in as many or more individuals surviving to adulthood (compensation or over-compensation, respectively), or increased reproductive performance via rapid development and greater adult size. 2. In a field study of a natural population of C. restuans, the effects of a 75% lower density on percentage survivorship to adulthood, number of adults, development time, adult size, adult longevity, and size dependent fecundity were tested. 3. No evidence was found of compensation or over-compensation in adult production, or of effects of lower density on percentage survivorship. Low density yielded significant increases in adult size, adult longevity, and size-dependent fecundity, and a decrease in development time. 4. Estimated per-capita population growth rate was significantly greater in the low-density treatment than in the high-density treatment. It is inferred that this difference was due to greater per-capita resources, which increased female size and fecundity, and reduced development time. Greater per-capita population growth could therefore result from early mortality of larvae, meaning that the hydra effect, which predicts greater equilibrium population with, as opposed to without, extrinsic mortality, may be possible for these mosquitoes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-205
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Compensatory mortality
  • density dependence
  • hydra effect
  • over-compensatory mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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