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Linking oviposition site choice to offspring fitness in Aedes aegypti: consequences for targeted larval control of dengue vectors.

  • Author(s): Wong, Jacklyn
  • Morrison, Amy C
  • Stoddard, Steven T
  • Astete, Helvio
  • Chu, Yui Yin
  • Baseer, Imaan
  • Scott, Thomas W
  • et al.
Abstract

Current Aedes aegypti larval control methods are often insufficient for preventing dengue epidemics. To improve control efficiency and cost-effectiveness, some advocate eliminating or treating only highly productive containers. The population-level outcome of this strategy, however, will depend on details of Ae. aegypti oviposition behavior.We simultaneously monitored female oviposition and juvenile development in 80 experimental containers located across 20 houses in Iquitos, Peru, to test the hypothesis that Ae. aegypti oviposit preferentially in sites with the greatest potential for maximizing offspring fitness. Females consistently laid more eggs in large vs. small containers (β = 9.18, p<0.001), and in unmanaged vs. manually filled containers (β = 5.33, p<0.001). Using microsatellites to track the development of immature Ae. aegypti, we found a negative correlation between oviposition preference and pupation probability (β = -3.37, p<0.001). Body size of emerging adults was also negatively associated with the preferred oviposition site characteristics of large size (females: β = -0.19, p<0.001; males: β = -0.11, p = 0.002) and non-management (females: β = -0.17, p<0.001; males: β = -0.11, p<0.001). Inside a semi-field enclosure, we simulated a container elimination campaign targeting the most productive oviposition sites. Compared to the two post-intervention trials, egg batches were more clumped during the first pre-intervention trial (β = -0.17, P<0.001), but not the second (β = 0.01, p = 0.900). Overall, when preferred containers were unavailable, the probability that any given container received eggs increased (β = 1.36, p<0.001).Ae. aegypti oviposition site choice can contribute to population regulation by limiting the production and size of adults. Targeted larval control strategies may unintentionally lead to dispersion of eggs among suitable, but previously unoccupied or under-utilized containers. We recommend integrating targeted larval control measures with other strategies that leverage selective oviposition behavior, such as luring ovipositing females to gravid traps or egg sinks.

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