Predator-induced shifts in mosquito oviposition site selection: A meta-analysis and implications for vector control

James R. Vonesh, Leon Blaustein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The global resurgence and emergence of new mosquito-borne diseases and increasing resistance of mosquitoes to chemical pesticides have prompted renewed interest in biocontrol methods that use aquatic predators of mosquito larvae. For disease vectors with complex life cycles, like mosquitoes, in which adults are terrestrial and choose aquatic habitats in which to deposit their offspring, shifts in oviposition site selection may have important consequences for vector population dynamics and epidemiology. While there have been numerous studies of mosquito oviposition site selection, methodology and results vary, making it difficult to evaluate the general importance of predator-induced shifts in oviposition site selection for biocontrol scenarios. Here we use meta-analysis to provide a quantitative framework for examining variation in mosquito oviposition responses to predators. Overall, we find a broad pattern of predator avoidance among mosquito and predator taxa. The primary factor explaining variation in oviposition response appears to be taxonomic and/or life-history related - avoidance is weakest or non-existent in Aedes species that oviposit eggs above water in container habitats. Responses also varied among predators. Generally, oviposition avoidance was strongest in response to fish and insects, weak or nonexistent in response to notostracans, urodeles, or dipterans, and there is limited evidence that some mosquitoes are attracted to cyclopoid crustaceans. Our results highlight that predator avoidance during oviposition is common, but not ubiquitous, in mosquitoes and needs to be considered when evaluating the likely efficacy of aquatic predators for biocontrol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-279
Number of pages17
JournalIsrael Journal of Ecology and Evolution
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was conducted as part of the ‘‘Does Fear Matter?’’ Working Group supported by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NSF Grant DEB-0072909) and the University of California, Santa Barbara. LB was supported by Israel Science Foundation Grant 600/02. E.A. Garcia, S.A. Juliano, A. Eitam, W.E. Walton, S. Ritchie, K. Abjornsson, and J. Buck generously provided access to previously unpublished data. Comments from three anonymous reviewers led to an improved manuscript.


  • biocontrol
  • colonization
  • complex life cycle
  • culicid
  • disease
  • habitat selection
  • vector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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