Effects of fish cues on mosquito larvae development

Alon Silberbush, Zvika Abramsky, Ido Tsurim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the effects of predator-released kairomones on life history traits of larval Culex pipiens (Linnaeus). We compared the development time and survival of sibling larvae, reared in either water conditioned by the presence of Gambusia affinis (Baird and Girard) or fishless control-water. Our results indicate that larvae developing in fish-conditioned water (FCW) pupated faster than larvae in fishless-control water. The effect of FCW on larval survival was evident only in females. Surprisingly, FCW increased female survival. In both development-time and survival, boiling the water eliminated the FCW effect, supporting our hypothesis that fish conditioning is based on kairomones. Accelerated metamorphosis in response to predator released kairomones, evident in our results, is a rarely described phenomenon. Intuitively, when exposed to predator associated signals, aquatic larvae should metamorphose earlier to escape the higher risk of predation. However, theoretical models predict this outcome only under specific conditions. Indeed, longer - rather than shorter - time to metamorphosis is usually observed in response to predation risk. We argue that the response of larval mosquitoes to predation risk is context-dependent. Shortening larval development time may not be an exceptional response, but rather represents a part of a response spectrum that depends on the level of predation risk and resource abundance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-199
Number of pages4
JournalActa Tropica
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Culex pipiens
  • Life history
  • Phenotypic plasticity
  • Predator cues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Veterinary (miscellaneous)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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