For organisms lacking parental care and where larval dispersal is limited, oviposition site selection decisions are critical fitness-enhancing choices. However, studies usually do not consider the interdependence of the two. In this study, we evaluated the effect of food level on the oviposition behavior of Aedes albopictus (Skuse) in the presence or the absence of a nonlethal predator (caged dragonfly nymph). We also attempted to quantify the perceived cost of predation to ovipositioning mosquitoes. Mosquitoes were presented with oviposition cups containing four levels of larval food (fermented leaf infusion) with or without a caged libellulid nymph. By titrating larval food, we estimated the amount of food needed to attract the female mosquito to oviposit in the riskier habitat. As expected, oviposition rate increased with food level and decreased in the presence of a predator. However, the effect of food level did not differ between predator treatments. By calculating the difference in the amount of food for points of equal oviposition rate in the predator-present and predator-absent regression lines, we estimated the cost of predation risk to be 1950 colony-formingunits per milliliter. Our study demonstrated the importance of considering the possible interdependence of predation risk and food abundance for oviposition-site-seeking insects. This study also quantified the perceived cost of predation and found it to be relatively low, a fact with positive implications for biological control.
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Vol. 50 • No. 5