Dengue vector Aedes aegypti L. is invading peri-urban and rural areas throughout Latin America. Our previous research in the Peruvian Amazon has shown that river boats are heavily infested with immature and adult Ae. aegypti mosquitoes, likely playing a major role in their long-distance dispersal and successful invasion. However, the presence of immature mosquitoes provides no information about the timing of oviposition, and whether it took place in the boats. Here, we used baited ovitraps deployed on river boats to test the hypothesis that Ae. aegypti oviposition occurs during boat travel. We deployed 360 ovitraps on 60 different barges during August and October of 2013, and February 2014 (with 20 barges sampled during each month). We found that Ae. aegypti mosquitoes in 22 individual ovitraps from 15 of the 60 barges (premise index 25%) across all sampling dates. Further, the distribution of Ae. aegypti egg abundance was highly aggregated: 2.6% of traps (N = 7) were responsible for 71.8% of eggs found, and 1.5% of traps (N = 4) were responsible for all (100%) of the larvae found. Similarly, 5% of boats were responsible for the 71.47% of eggs. Our results provide strong evidence that Ae. aegypti oviposition commonly occurs during boat travel. Baited ovitraps could represent a cost-effective means of monitoring and controlling mosquito populations on boats.
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Vol. 52 • No. 4