We investigated the bacterial community composition of tree holes in relation to the presence and absence of larvae of the mosquito Ochlerotatus triseriatus. Larvae were eliminated from a subset of natural tree holes with Bacillus thuringiensis serovar israelensis, and total bacterial numbers, slow- and fast-growing colony-forming units on minimal media, and 16S rRNA gene sequence data from water column and leaf material were obtained. Total bacterial counts did not change significantly with treatment; however, the number of slow-growing cultivable bacteria significantly increased in the absence of larvae. Sequence classifications and comparisons of sequence libraries using LIBSHUFF indicated that the elimination of larvae significantly altered bacterial community composition. Major groups apparently affected by larvae were Flavobacteriaceae, Rhodobacteraceae, Comamonadaceae, and Sphingomonadaceae. A clear dominance of Flavobacteriaceae in the water column after larval removal suggests members of this group are a major bacterial food source.
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Vol. 24 • No. 2