Container-inhabiting mosquito species are subject to both intraspecific and interspecific competition during larval development in resource-limited habitats. The arrival of an invasive species, Aedes albopictus, in the U.S. has altered competitive interactions among container-inhabiting mosquito species and, in some cases, has led to displacement of these species. Resource enrichment of container habitats has been shown to alleviate competitive interactions and to promote species co-existence; however, the importance of the timing of enrichment has yet to be explored. Larval competition between Ae. albopictus and a native species, Ochlerotatus triseriatus, was explored when resources were added either gradually or in a single pulse. Replacement series experiments revealed that Ae. albopictus was able to outcompete and displace Oc. triseriatus via resource monopolization when all resources were made available simultaneously; however, when the same resource amount was added over time, survival was high for both species, leading to co-existence. Timing of resource input also had an effect in monospecific treatments, indicating that intraspecific competition impacts survival as well. Duration of larval development was influenced by both species presence and by timing of resource input for Oc. triseriatus. These results indicate competitive outcome is condition-specific and that timing of resource input can determine whether a dominant invasive competitor displaces a native species, or if the two species are able to co-exist. Both intraspecific and interspecific competition occur at different temporal scales due to species-specific differences in larval developmental time. Timing of resource availability in container habitats can impact mosquito survival via competitive interactions, which can ultimately influence vector population size and behavior, possibly influencing vector-borne disease transmission.
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