The introduction of Aedes albopictus (Skuse) in the United States has been associated with declines in abundance of resident mosquito species, presumably because of resource competition, as larvae of Ae. albopictus have been illustrated as superior competitors under certain resource conditions. We evaluated the hypothesis that varying the type and ratio of two food resources (Foxtail grass: American elm) alters the competitive outcome of Ae. albopictus and Culex pipiens (L.). We measured survivorship, development time, size, and adult longevity, and estimated the population growth index (λ′) of populations raised both alone and in equal number with the interspecific competitor, across five ratios of the two food resources. Competition was asymmetric with Ae. albopictus, the superior competitor across all resource treatments; however, the competitive advantage Ae. albopictus had over Cx. pipiens was reduced as grass became the predominant resource. With elm as the predominant resource, the population growth index (λ′) for both Ae. albopictus and Cx. pipiens was lower in intraspecific and interspecific competition treatments, respectively. The treatments also impacted adult life history, as life spans of both Ae. albopictus and Cx. pipiens varied when they emerged from larval conditions with different resource and competition treatments. We discuss the possible differences in the two species' efficiencies in exploiting the two resource types. Despite some resource conditions alleviating the competitive effects of Ae. albopictus on Cx. pipiens, competition remained asymmetric; thus, additional mechanisms are likely operating under field conditions when the two species coexist.
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Vol. 48 • No. 1