Aedes (Finlaya) japonicus japonicus (Theobald) (Diptera: Culicidae) is recently invasive in North America and has expanded its range rapidly since 1998. Throughout its native and expanded range, Ae. j. japonicus larvae are commonly observed in many types of natural and artificial water-filled containers that vary in organic matter content and exposure to sunlight. Larvae are most often found in containers with decaying leaf material or algae, and we postulated that the added autocthonous primary production from algae could be both an important food source for larvae and an influential oviposition attractant to adult Ae. j. japonicus. We tested this hypothesis by placing plastic containers with varied levels of shading to manipulate algal density in the field, and then monitored oviposition by natural populations of Ae. j. japonicus. Over 99% of larvae hatching from eggs laid on the walls of our containers were Ae. j. japonicus, indicating that this species is a dominant colonizer of artificial containers in the study areas. Although full shading treatments effectively reduced algal biomass (significant reduction in chlorophyll a levels), at only one of three sites did this appear to affect Ae. j. japonicus oviposition. We conclude that algae in larval habitats are not a major factor in oviposition choices of adult Ae. j. japonicus females except when in situ primary production is high enough to substantially alter overall organic matter content cues.
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Vol. 50 • No. 1