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Annu Rev Entomol. 2009;54:37-56. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.54.110807.090611.

Species interactions among larval mosquitoes: context dependence across habitat gradients.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics Section, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois 61790-4120, USA.


Biotic interactions involving mosquito larvae are context dependent, with effects of interactions on populations altered by ecological conditions. Relative impacts of competition and predation change across a gradient of habitat size and permanence. Asymmetrical competition is common and ecological context changes competitive advantage, potentially facilitating landscape-level coexistence of competitors. Predator effects on mosquito populations sometimes depend on habitat structure and on emergent effects of multiple predators, particularly interference among predators. Nonlethal effects of predators on mosquito oviposition, foraging, and life history are common, and their consequences for populations and for mosquito-borne disease are poorly understood. Context-dependent beneficial effects of detritus shredders on mosquitoes occur in container habitats, but these interactions appear to involve more than simple resource modification by shredders. Investigations of context-dependent interactions among mosquito larvae will yield greater understanding of mosquito population dynamics and provide useful model systems for testing theories of context dependence in communities.

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