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Interspecific mating bias may drive Aedes albopictus displacement of Aedes aegypti during its range expansion.


Aedes albopictus is the most invasive mosquito in the world and often displaces Ae. aegypti in regions where their populations overlap. Interspecific mating has been proposed as a possible cause for this displacement, but whether this applies across the range of their sympatry remains unclear. Aedes albopictus and Ae. aegypti collected from allopatric and sympatric areas in China were allowed to interact in cage experiments with different crosses and sex-choices. The results confirm that asymmetric interspecific mating occurs in these populations with matings between allopatric Ae. albopictus males and Ae. aegypti females being significantly higher (55.2%) than those between Ae. aegypti males and Ae. albopictus females (27.0%), and sympatric mosquitoes showed a similar but lower frequency bias, 25.7% versus 6.2%, respectively. The cross-mated females can mate second time (remate) with the respective conspecific males and the 66.7% remating success of female Ae. albopictus was significantly higher than the 9.3% of Ae. aegypti females. Furthermore, 17.8% of the matings of Ae. albopictus males exposed to mixed pools of Ae. albopictus and Ae. aegypti females and 9.3% of the matings of Ae. aegypti males with mixed Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus females were interspecific. The difference in the length of clasper between male Ae. albopictus (0.524 mm) and Ae. aegypti (0.409 mm) may be correlated with corresponding mates. We conclude that stronger Ae. albopictus male interspecific mating and more avid female intraspecific remating result in a satyr effect and contribute to competitive displacement of Ae. aegypti as allopatric Ae. albopictus invade during range expansion.

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