Predation differentially structures immature mosquito populations in stormwater ponds

Christopher J. Holmes, Carla E. Cáceres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


1. Understanding the factors underlying the abundance and distribution of species requires the consideration of a complex suite of interacting biotic and abiotic factors operating on multiple spatial and temporal scales. Larval mosquitoes inhabiting small human-constructed ponds represent a unique opportunity to investigate the relative importance of these structuring mechanisms while simultaneously generating applied knowledge on mosquito control. 2. A multi-year field survey of 32 stormwater ponds was conducted in central Illinois (Champaign County). From each pond, data were collected on pond structure type and hydroperiod, the presence/absence of cattails (Typha spp.), and measures of total nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon, and chlorophyll a. The communities of crustacean zooplankton and aquatic insects were characterised, and these taxa were assigned into two main groups: predators and competitors of larval mosquitoes. Structural equation modelling was used to explore the direct and indirect effects of these biotic and abiotic factors on larval density for three species of culicine mosquitoes (Culex pipiens, Culex restuans, and Aedes vexans). 3. Hydroperiod had an indirect negative effect on C. pipiens density. However, this effect was mediated by predator density; more permanent ponds had more predators, which therefore reduced the density of C. pipiens larvae. Aedes vexans density was positively correlated with predator density. No predictor variables were found that explained variation in C. restuans density. 4. This study show that the relative importance of these biotic and abiotic factors varies among species of culicine mosquitoes inhabiting stormwater ponds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-108
Number of pages12
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • Habitat filtering
  • interspecific variation
  • mosquitoes
  • stormwater ponds
  • structural equation modelling
  • vector ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science

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