Dengue is a serious public health problem worldwide. Biological control of its vector, Aedes aegypti, remains a feasible option in light of increasing urbanization and insecticide resistance. We studied the dispersal and oviposition activity of Toxorhynchites moctezuma in a dengue-endemic urban area in Sonora, Mexico, to provide information about the potential of Toxorhynchites as a control agent for Ae. aegypti in arid areas. We released 210 and 100 laboratory-reared gravid females of Tx. moctezuma in 2 city blocks during the summer and fall of 1993. We set 3 1-liter containers and 1 car tire as sentinel traps at each of 10 backyards within each city block. Spatial and temporal patterns of dispersal and oviposition activity differed between city blocks and between releases. However, a Cox regression analysis showed no significant difference in the per-day probability of Tx. moctezuma oviposition events in sentinel traps between summer and fall releases. Per-day oviposition probability was nearly 5 times greater for sentinel traps that contained larvae of Ae. aegypti, suggesting a high specificity of the predator for its prey. The proportion of sentinel traps positive for Tx. moctezuma eggs did not increase substantially after the 8th day post-release, reaching 66% and 23% for sentinel traps with and without Ae. aegypti larvae, respectively.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4