Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and Aedes atropalpus (Coquillett) (Diptera: Culicidae) are container-dwelling mosquito species that are well established in the eastern United States. Interspecific larval competition studies have shown Ae. albopictus to be a superior competitor over many species. A laboratory experiment was conducted in artificial containers to evaluate the effects of malathion on larval interactions between Ae. albopictus and Ae. atropalpus. The survivorship of Ae. albopictus increased with increasing Ae. atropalpus densities in control but decreased with increasing Ae. atropalpus densities in the presence of malathion. Alternatively, Ae. atropalpus survivorship did not differ between control and malathion treatments. Developmental times were not affected by interspecific competition in both treatments for either species. These results show that malathion could facilitate coexistence between Ae. albopictus and Ae. atropalpus. This demonstrates how sublethal concentrations of malathion (and perhaps other pesticides with similar modes of action) can enable an inferior competitor to coexist in the same habitat with a superior competitor. This is the first report of synergistic survival of a weaker mosquito competitor in the presence of a pesticide due to condition-specific competition.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2