We examined the relationship between distance from major larval habitats and abundance of adult mosquitoes in the semiarid plains landscape characteristic of eastern Colorado. Mosquito collection was conducted from late June to early August 2007 and included trap locations at distances ranging from <10 m up to 20–150 m and 160–373 m from three major larval habitats: one area along a river corridor and two small reservoirs. The study yielded 65,140 mosquitoes of 14 species, and five species were sufficiently abundant to be included in statistical analyses: Aedes vexans (Meigen), Culex tarsalis Coquillett, Ochlerotatus dorsalis (Meigen) (=Ae. dorsalis), Ochlerotatus melanimon (Dyar) (=Ae. melanimon), and Culex pipiens L. Distance to nearest major larval habitat was not strongly related to Culex abundance within the ≈ 400-m range from larval habitats examined in this study. Abundance of Ae. vexans declined significantly with distance from the larval habitat, whereas abundance was significantly higher in the 20–150- and 160–373-m classes compared with areas within 10 m of the larval habitat for both Ochlerotatus species. Except for Ae. vexans, however, we did not find monotonic increasing or decreasing abundance trends associated with distance from larval habitats for the 400-m range examined. This, combined with a finding that fine-scale habitat heterogeneity influenced abundance for most of the mosquitoes examined, underscores the importance of considering not only distance from larval habitat but also fine-scale habitat heterogeneity to understand how important nuisance-biters and West Nile virus (family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus, WNV) vectors use the landscape. We also discuss how these results relate to previous studies from western North America and explore their relevance to operational implementation of adulticides to suppress mosquito vectors during WNV disease outbreaks in the Great Plains.
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Vol. 46 • No. 6