Oviposition choice is a well-studied aspect of the mosquito life cycle, and offers a potential avenue for species-specific surveillance and control. In container inhabiting mosquitoes, there has been a focus on how the components of the aquatic media determine choice, with little work on the physical characteristics of the containers themselves. We performed five experiments examining the effect of physical container parameters on oviposition choice by Aedes albopictus. We examined containers of three different surface areas (small, 496 cm2; medium, 863 cm2; and large, 1,938 cm2) at the same water depth and the same or different heights in a series of binary choice assays. We also examined different depths with the same surface area in clear containers (where the depth may be perceived by the darkness of the water) and in opaque containers, which appear uniformly dark at different depths. We found a significant preference for medium containers over large containers, whether the containers were different or the same heights, and a trend toward a preference for small containers over medium containers. There was a preference for deeper water regardless of whether containers were clear or opaque. These behaviors suggest mosquitoes take into account physical aspects of their habitats and their oviposition choices are consistent with minimizing the risk of habitat drying.
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Vol. 49 • No. 1