We compared mosquito consumption and prey selection between least chub (Iotichthys phlegethontis) and western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) to determine the potential of least chub as an indigenous replacement for mosquito control in Utah. Mosquito consumption was compared between the 2 species in 2 experiments. The first tested consumption at 3 ratios of pupae and larvae (Culex sp.; 1:3, 3:4, and 1:1), and the second tested consumption at varying densities of larvae (967 larvae ·m−3, 1354 larvae ·m−3, and 2258 larvae ·m−3 [30, 42, and 70 larvae per 31-L tank, respectively]). Western mosquitofish consumed more mosquitoes at lower pupae-to-larvae ratios than least chub, but least chub consumed more mosquitoes as the ratio of pupae to larvae increased. Western mosquitofish consumed significantly more larvae than least chub at all densities. Prey selection was compared between least chub and western mosquitofish, either individually or in intraspecific pairs, when the fish were fed equal abundances of 3 prey items: mosquito larvae, Daphnia magna, and midge larvae (Chironomid sp.). Least chub consumed significantly fewer total prey items for both the 1- and 2-fish trials; western mosquitofish consumed significantly more individuals of each prey type except for Daphnia magna in the 1-fish trials. Least chub and western mosquitofish demonstrated no selection for prey items, indicating that both fish would consume mosquito larvae at rates relative to abundance. Feeding habits demonstrated in this study indicated that least chub could be a potential replacement for western mosquitofish for mosquito control; however, field studies should be conducted to assess the ability of both species to control mosquitoes in a natural setting.
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Vol. 67 • No. 1