Few studies have assessed the effects of food scarcity or excess on the life history traits of Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae) independently from larval density. We assessed immature survival, development time, and adult size in relation to food availability. We reared cohorts of 30 Ae. aegypti larvae from newly hatched to adult emergence with different food availability. Food conditions were kept constant by transferring larvae each day to a new food solution. Immature development was completed by some individuals in all treatments. The shortest development time, the largest adults, and the highest survival were observed at intermediate food levels. The most important effects of food scarcity were an extension in development time, a decrease in the size of adults, and a slight decrease in survival, while the most important effects of food excess were an important decrease in survival and a slight decrease in the size of adults. The variability in development time and adult size within sex and treatment increased at decreasing food availability. The results suggest that although the studied population has adapted to a wide range of food availabilities, both scarcity and excess of food have important negative impacts on fitness.
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Vol. 43 • No. 1