To set up a sterile male technique program to control Aedes albopictus (Skuse) in areas in northern Italy, a pilot mass-rearing facility is under development. For this purpose, experiments were carried out to find the optimal larval density for the optimization of the rearing parameters, i.e., to obtain the fastest larval development, the highest larval and pupal survival rate, and large-sized pupae. Several different larval densities, from 40 to 2,874 larvae per liter, were tested. For densities from 40 to 600 larvae per liter significant size differences were found among pupae obtained under different larval densities. The larvae raised at the lowest density tended to be smaller and to develop most slowly, i.e., longer pupation time. Also, increasing water volume and depth seemed to negatively affect the pupation success. Compared with the other larval densities tested, the larvae reared at a density of 2,874 larvae per liter developed slightly faster and showed higher survival rates, indicating this density as appropriate for the development of a mass rearing, at least using the current larval diet.
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Vol. 104 • No. 1