Comparative responses of ovipositing Anopheles gambiae and Culex quinquefasciatus females to the presence of Culex egg rafts and larvae
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Field observations have demonstrated that gravid Anopheles gambiae Giles s.s. (Diptera: Culicidae) are selective in their choice of oviposition sites. For example, immature stages of An. gambiae s.s. are rarely found in water that contains Culex quinquefasciatus Say immatures. The possibility that this may, in part at least, reflect a response by ovipositing An. gambiae s.s. females to volatile signals associated with Culex juveniles was evaluated by testing the response of An. gambiae s.s. females to varying densities of Cx. quinquefasciatus egg rafts and/or larvae in oviposition choice assays. For comparison, the oviposition choices of Cx. quinquefasciatus to conspecific egg rafts and/or larvae were similarly assayed. At a low density of Cx. quinquefasciatus egg rafts (1-15 egg rafts/100 mL water), An. gambiae s.s. females laid more eggs in the treatment water than in the control, with a maximum of twice as many in the treatment water at 5 egg rafts/100 mL water. At higher egg raft densities and in all treatments that included Cx. quinquefasciatus larvae, oviposition decreased significantly in the treatment dishes in a density-dependent manner. As previous studies have indicated, ovipositing Cx. quinquefasciatus females were attracted to and laid egg rafts in dishes containing conspecific egg rafts and, interestingly, also in dishes containing larvae.