Thousands of flooded swimming pools were abandoned in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and provided a natural experiment to examine colonization of a novel aquatic habitat by mosquito larvae and their aquatic predators. We conducted a randomized survey of flooded swimming pools in two neighborhoods in January 2006 and found that 64% contained mosquito larvae, 92% contained predatory invertebrates, and 47% contained fishes. We collected 12,379 immature mosquitoes representing five species, primarily Culiseta inornata, and secondarily, the arboviral vector Culex quinquefasciatus. Dragonfly nymphs in the families Aeshnidae and Libellulidae were the most common predatory invertebrates collected among a total of 32 non-mosquito invertebrate species. Eleven species of fishes were collected, with Gambusia affinis accounting for 76% of the catch. Diversity of fishes in swimming pools was positively correlated with proximity to a levee breach and the fish assemblage found in swimming pools was similar to that found along shorelines of Lake Pontchartrain and drainage canals that flooded the study area. Mosquito larvae were rare or absent from pools containing fishes; however, path analysis indicated that the presence of top predators or abundant competitors may somewhat mitigate the effect of Gambusia affinis on mosquito presence.
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