Interactive effects of salinity and a predator on mosquito oviposition and larval performance

Alon Silberbush, Ido Tsurim, Yoel Margalith, Leon Blaustein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Oviposition habitat selection (OHS) is increasingly being recognized as playing a large role in explaining mosquito distributions and community assemblages. Most studies have assessed the role of single factors affecting OHS, while in nature, oviposition patterns are most likely explained by multiple, interacting biotic and abiotic factors. Determining how various factors interact to affect OHS is important for understanding metapopulation and metacommunity dynamics. We investigated the individual and interactive effects of three water salinities (0, 15 and 30 p.p.t. NaCl added) and the aquatic predator Anisops debilis Perplexa (Hemiptera: Notonectidae) on OHS and larval performance of the mosquitoes Ochlerotatus caspius Pallas and Culiseta longiareolata Macquart (Diptera: Culicidae) in outdoor-artificial-pool and laboratory experiments. C. longiareolata inhabited only freshwater pools, strongly avoided pools containing A. debilis, and larvae experienced lower survival in the presence of A. debilis. Salinity concentration interacted strongly with the predator in affecting OHS and larval survival of O. caspius; oviposition increased with increasing salinity in the absence of the predator and decreased with increasing salinity in the presence of the predator. O. caspius larval survival in predator-free pools was lowest in freshwater and highest at intermediate salinity. In predator pools, survival was highest at high salinity, where predation rate was shown to be lowest in the laboratory. Our results highlight that assessing the role of single factors in affecting mosquito distributions can be misleading. Instead, multiple factors may interact to affect oviposition patterns and larval performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-575
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Binational science Foundation grant (98-305) awarded to leon Blaustein and Marc Mangel, and funds from the tamar regional council awarded to yoel Margalith.

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank William J. resetarits for fruitful conversations, Bert schneider for his assistance in the field and statistical support. this work was partially supported by a united states–Israel


  • Anisops debilis
  • Context dependence
  • Culiseta longiareolata
  • Ochlerotatus caspius
  • Predation risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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