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J Vector Ecol. 2011 Dec;36(2):300-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1948-7134.2011.00170.x.

Assessing the impact of density dependence in field populations of Aedes aegypti.

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Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.


Although many laboratory studies of intra-specific competition have been conducted with Ae. aegypti, there have been few studies in natural environments and none that examined density dependence in natural containers at normal field densities. Additionally, current mathematical models that predict Ae. aegypti population dynamics lack empirically-based functions for density-dependence. We performed field experiments in Tapachula, Mexico, where dengue is a significant public health concern. Twenty-one containers with natural food and water that already contained larvae were collected from local houses. Each container was divided in half and the naturally occurring larvae were apportioned in a manner that resulted in one side of the container (high density) having four times the density of the second side (low density). Larvae were counted and pupae were removed daily. Once adults emerged, wing span was measured to estimate body size. Density had a significant impact on larval survival, adult body size, and the time taken to transition from 4(th) instar to pupation. Increased density decreased larval survival by 20% and decreased wing length by an average of 0.19 mm. These results provide a starting point for a better understanding of density dependence in field populations of Ae. aegypti.

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