We explored how inter- and intra-specific competition among larvae of two temporary-pool mosquito species, Culiseta longiareolata and Ochlerotatus caspius, affect larval developmental strategy and life history traits. Given that their larvae have similar feeding habits, we expected negative reciprocal inter-specific interactions. In a microcosm experiment, we found sex-specific responses of larval survival and development to both intra- and inter-specific larval competition. C. longiareolata was the superior competitor, reducing adult size and modifying larval developmental time of O. caspius. We observed two distinct waves of adult emergence in O. caspius, with clear sex-specific responses to its inter-specific competitor. In males, this pattern was not affected by C. longiareolata, but in females, the timing and average body size of the second wave strongly varied with C. longiareolata density. Specifically, in the absence of C. longiareolata, the second wave immediately followed the first wave. However, as C. longiareolata abundance increased, the second wave was progressively delayed and the resulting females tended to be larger. This study improves our understanding of the way intra- and inter-specific competition combine to influence the life histories of species making up temporary pond communities. It also provides strong evidence that not all individuals of a cohort employ the same strategies in response to competition.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)