The mosquito Culex coronator (Dyar and Knab) (Diptera: Culicidae) has undergone rapid range expansion in the United States since 2003, with its historical distribution in the southwest expanding eastward to the Atlantic coast. Although Cx. coronator nominally use small natural aquatic habitats for development, the use of containers (e.g., tires) makes it potentially important as container invasive. To determine the potential ecological effects of Cx. coronator on resident container species, we conducted a laboratory experiment to assess its competitive ability with two common tireinhabiting species, Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) (Diptera: Culicidae). Larvae were reared under a factorial design with each species alone and in combination (Cx. coronator Ae. albopictus, Cx. coronator Cx. quinquefasciatus) across three different resource environments (leaf detritus only, animal detritus only, animal leaf). Mosquito performance (survival, adult male and female mass, and development time) was measured for each species across treatments. Female Cx. coronator developed slowest when grown with Ae. albopictus, or when grown with leaves only regardless of species combinations; similar patterns emerged for males although species effects were restricted to mass. Few differences were evident in performance for male and female Cx. coronator across detritus environments when grown with Cx. quinquefasciatus. Cx. quinquefasciatus did not vary in mass or development time in the presence of Cx. coronator compared with when grown alone. Ae. albopictus female mass was 15% lower in the presence of Cx. coronator. Survival of Cx. coronator was highest in animal and leaf detritus containers, although survival was generally lower when larvae were grown with Ae. albopictus. These findings suggest that the performance of Cx. coronator is similar to that of Cx. quinquefasciatus but it suffers in the presence of Ae. albopictus under some resource environments.
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Vol. 51 • No. 1