In aquatic systems, prey animals associate predation risk with cues that originate either from the predator or from injured conspecifics. Sources and benefits of these cues have received considerable attention in river, lake, and pond ecosystems but are less well understood in small container ecosystems that can hold less than a liter of water. Mosquitoes Aedes triseriatus (Say) and Aedes albopictus (Skuse) encounter predatory Corethrella appendiculata (Grabham) and Toxorhynchites rutilus (Coquillett) in small containers and show antipredatory behavioral responses. We investigated the sources of the predation cues to which these prey larvae respond. We tested whether Ae. albopictus larvae show behavioral responses to cues emanating from the predator or from damage to prey caused by the act of predation. We also tested whether Ae. triseriatus respond to cues present in fluid or solid residues from predator activity. Ae. albopictus showed behavioral modifications only in response to waterborne cues from a feeding predator and not to cues from a starving predator, indicating that Ae. albopictus respond to cues created by the act of predation, which could include substances derived from damaged prey or substances in predator feces. Ae. triseriatus showed behavioral responses to solid residues from predation but not to fluid without those solids, indicating that the cues to which they respond originate in predator feces or uneaten prey body parts. Our results suggest that cues in this system may be primarily chemicals that are detected upon contact with solid residues that are products of the feeding processes of these predators.
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