The Importance of Interspecific Interactions on the Present Range of the Invasive Mosquito Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) and Persistence of Resident Container Species in the United States.
Aedes albopictus (Skuse) established in the United States over 30 yr ago and quickly spread throughout the entire eastern half of the country. It has recently spread into western regions and projected climate change scenarios suggest continued expansion to the west and north. Aedes albopictus has had major impacts on, and been impacted by, a diverse array of resident mosquito species. Laying eggs at the edges of small, water-holding containers, hatched larvae develop within these containers feeding on detritus-based resources. Under limited resource conditions, Ae. albopictus has been shown to be a superior competitor to essentially all native and resident species in the United States. Adult males also mate interspecifically with at least one resident species with significant negative impacts on reproductive output for susceptible females. Despite these strong interference effects on sympatric species, competitor outcomes have been highly variable, ranging from outright local exclusion by Ae. albopictus, to apparent exclusion of Ae. albopictus in the presence of the same species. Context-dependent mechanisms that alter the relative strengths of inter- and intraspecific competition, as well as rapid evolution of satyrization-resistant females, may help explain these patterns of variable coexistence. Although there is a large body of research on interspecific interactions of Ae. albopictus in the United States, there remain substantial gaps in our understanding of the most important species interactions. Addressing these gaps is important in predicting the future distribution of this species and understanding consequences for resident species, including humans, that interact with this highly invasive mosquito.
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