The fundamental approach to the biological control of Aedes albopictus requires the mass rearing of mosquitoes and the release of highly competitive adults in the field. As the fitness of adults is highly dependent on the development of immatures, we aimed to identify the minimum feeding regime required to produce viable and competitive adults by evaluating three response parameters: development duration, immature mortality, and adult wing length. Our study suggests at least 0.60 mg/larva/day of larval diet composed of dog food, dried beef liver, yeast, and milk powder in a weight ratio of 2:1:1:1 is required to maximize adult fitness. With standardized protocols in mass rearing, intensive studies can be readily conducted on mosquito colonies to facilitate comparisons across laboratories. This study also evaluated the differences in response of laboratory and field strains under different feeding regimes. We found that strain alone did not exert substantial effects on all response parameters. However, the field strain exhibited significantly lower immature mortality than the laboratory strain under the minimum feeding regime. Females and males of the laboratory strain had longer wing lengths under nutritional constraint due to the higher mortality that resulted in reduced interactions with the remaining larvae. Meanwhile, the field strain exhibited heterogeneous duration of immature development compared with the laboratory strain. The disparities demonstrated by the two strains in this study suggest the effect of inbreeding surfaced after a long term of laboratory colonization. Despite the trade-offs resulting from laboratory colonization, the competitiveness of the laboratory strain of Ae. albopictus is comparable to the field strain, provided the larvae are fed optimally.
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Vol. 42 • No. 1