Species vulnerability to pesticides depends on physiological sensitivity, the potential to recover, and the ecological context. We assessed the vulnerability of the mosquito Culex pipiens to a repeated treatment with thiacloprid in outdoor microcosms with and without antagonists (competitive and predatory invertebrates). Microcosms were treated repeatedly (three times) with thiacloprid at a concentration of 0.1, 1, or 10 µg/liter. In microcosms without antagonists, the abundance of Cx. pipiens larvae decreased moderately after the second and the third exposures to 10 µg/liter thiacloprid. In microcosms with antagonists, the abundance of Cx. pipiens larvae declined to approximately zero in the control group and the low concentration treatments during the five weeks of observation. By contrast, the abundance of Cx. pipiens larvae temporarily increased at 10 µg/liter thiacloprid after the second and third contamination. We explained this positive effect on the development of Cx. pipiens because of the decrease in competition due to the elimination of sensitive antagonists combined with the high recovery potential of Cx. pipiens. Based on these results, natural antagonists must be supported for the sustainable control of mosquitoes.
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Vol. 43 • No. 1