Aedes aegypti (L.) mosquitoes preferentially oviposit in natural and artificial receptacles where their eggs are able to withstand drying as water levels fluctuate. Desiccation-resistant eggs also increase the potential for establishment in non-native habitats while providing logistical impediments to control programs. Viability and mean survival times of eggs stored under three dryness conditions for up to 367 days were investigated among three field-derived colonies of Australian Ae. aegypti to understand variation in desiccation survival. Further investigations compared egg survival between an established colony and its wild counterpart. Our results confirmed that Ae. aegypti eggs can withstand desiccation for extended periods of time with approximately 2–15% egg viability recorded after one year and viability remaining above 88% under all conditions through 56 days. Intraspecific variations in egg survival times were recorded, suggesting local adaptation while each of the colonies demonstrated a consistent preference for higher humidity. Egg volume varied between the populations, suggesting a relationship between egg volume and survival time, with the marginally larger eggs (Charters Towers and Innisfail) having greater desiccation resistance over the range of conditions. The strong survivorship of Charters Towers eggs in dry, warm conditions demonstrates the adaptive significance of a desiccation-resistant egg.
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Vol. 40 • No. 2