Culex quinquefasciatus Say mosquitoes flourish in belowground stormwater systems in the southern United States. Recent evidence suggests that oviposition-site-seeking females may have difficulties locating, entering, and ovipositing inside permanent water chambers when surface entry through pickholes in manhole covers are sealed. It remains unknown, however, if newly emerged adults are able to detect cues necessary to exit these partly sealed systems via lateral conveyance pipes or if they perish belowground. Fourth instar Cx. quinquefasciatus were placed within proprietary belowground stormwater treatment systems to determine the percentage of newly emerged adults able to escape treatment chambers via a single lateral conveyance pipe. Overall, 56% of deployed mosquitoes were captured in adult exit traps with an ≈1:1 male:female ratio. The percentage of adults captured varied significantly among chambers, but was not associated with structural site characteristics such as the chamber depth or the length and course of conveyance pipe to the exit trap. Empirical observations suggested that longbodied cellar spiders, Pholcus phalangioides (Fuesslin), ubiquitous in these structures, may have reduced adult trap capture. Findings demonstrate that newly emerged Cx. quinquefasciatus can exit subterranean chambers under potentially difficult structural conditions but suggest that a portion may perish in the absence of surface exit points in manhole shafts.
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Vol. 49 • No. 2