Investigations on natural antagonists of mosquito larvae found that micro-crustaceans (e.g., Cladocera) control mosquito populations under experimental conditions. However, their relevance for mosquito control under field situations remains widely unclear because important information about habitat preferences and time of occurrence of crustaceans and mosquito larvae are still missing. In order to fill this knowledge gap, a field study was undertaken in different wetland areas of Saxony, Germany, in different habitats (i.e., grassland, forest, and reed-covered wetlands). We found negative interactions between larvae of Ae. vexans and predatory Cyclopoida (Crustacean: Copepoda), which both were dominant during the first two weeks of hydroperiod, at ponds located at grassland habitats. Larvae of Cx. pipiens were spatially associated with competing Cladocera, but they colonized ponds more rapidly. Populations of Cladocera established from the third week of hydroperiod and prevented Cx. pipiens colonization thereafter. Ostracoda were highly abundant during the whole hydroperiod, but their presence was restricted to habitats of reed-covered wetland at one geographical area. Mosquito larvae hardly occurred at those ponds. In general, we found that ponds at the reed-covered wetlands provided better conditions for the initial development of crustaceans and hence, mosquito larval colonization was strongly inhibited. Grassland habitat, in contrast, favored early development of mosquito larvae. This study showed that micro-crustaceans are relevant for mosquito management but their impact on mosquito larvae varies between species and depends on environmental conditions.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1