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Fecundity, Autogeny, and the Larval Environment of the Pitcher-Plant Mosquito, Wyeomyia smithii

L. P. Lounibos, C. Van Dover and G. F. O'Meara
Oecologia
Vol. 55, No. 2 (1982), pp. 160-164
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4216808
Page Count: 5
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Fecundity, Autogeny, and the Larval Environment of the Pitcher-Plant Mosquito, Wyeomyia smithii
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Abstract

Pupae and fourth instar larvae of a southern (30° N, Alabama, USA) population of Wyeomyia smithii Coq. (Diptera: Culicidae) were collected from pitcher plants. Adults which emerged were maintained without food then dissected to determine their egg clutch size. Among females which matured eggs, fecundities were negatively correlated with larval densities in individual pitchers. The mean autogenous fecundity of the overwintering generation did not differ from a summer sample. Adults unable to mature eggs comprised 6-39% of samples, depending on whether collected as pupae or fourth instar larvae. Fecundity was negatively correlated with time to adult eclosion among larvae maintained on unrenewed pitcher contents in the laboratory. Cohorts from this population were reared in artificial containers from egg hatch to adulthood at a single density and a superior or inferior diet. On the superior larval diet, all females survived to reproductive age, and all but one (>99%) produced eggs autogenously. On the inferior diet, survivorship to adult eclosion was significantly less, a high proportion of females died before reaching reproductive age, and only 19% of survivors matured eggs without blood. Protracted larval development induced by the inferior diet did not influence the probability of autogeny among females that survived to reproductive maturity. The relationship between larval environment and reproductive strategies is contrasted across the geographic range of W. smithii. Bloodfeeding occurs among southern populations where density dependent constraints on preimaginal growth are constantly severe. The loss of hematophagy among northern populations may have been facilitated by periods of density independent larval growth.

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