Within 2 yr of the arrival of the invasive container mosquito Aedes albopictus (Skuse), the previously dominant invasive mosquito Aedes aegypti (L.) disappeared from many Florida cemeteries. At some cemeteries, however, Ae. aegypti populations seem stable despite Ae. albopictus invasion. We sought to understand this variation in the outcome (exclusion, coexistence) of this invasion, given that previous experiments show that Ae. albopictus is the superior larval competitor. We tested experimentally the hypothesis that climate-dependent egg survivorship differs between exclusion and coexistence cemeteries and that differences in invasion outcome are associated with microclimate. Viability of eggs oviposited in the laboratory and suspended in vases at six cemeteries was significantly greater for Ae. aegypti than for Ae. albopictus, and greater in 2001 than in 2006. Cemeteries differed significantly in egg survivorship of Ae. albopictus, but not of Ae. aegypti, which is consistent with the hypothesis that Ae. albopictus suffers site-specific, climate-driven egg mortality that mitigates the competitive superiority of larval Ae. albopictus. Principal component (PC) analysis of microclimate records from vases during the experiments yielded three PCs accounting for >96% of the variance in both years of experiments. Multivariate analysis of variance of the three PCs revealed significant microclimate differences among the six cemeteries and between exclusion versus coexistence cemeteries. Stepwise logistic regression of egg survivorship versus microclimate PCs yielded significant fits for both species, and twice as much variance explained for Ae. albopictus as for Ae. aegypti in both years, Higher mortalities in 2006 were associated with high average daily maximum temperatures in vases, with lethal thresholds for both species at ≈40°C. From 1990 to 2007, vase occupancy by Ae. albopictus increased and that by Ae. aegypti decreased, with increasing seasonal precipitation at one well-sampled cemetery. Results support the hypothesis that locally variable climate-driven mortality of Ae. albopictus eggs contributes to patterns of exclusion of, or coexistence with, Ae. aegypti.
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Vol. 103 • No. 5