Multi-scale oviposition site selection in two mosquito species

Yehonatan Alcalay*, Ido Tsurim, Ofer Ovadia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


1. In organisms characterised by complex life cycles, habitat selection often occurs at multiple spatial scales. For instance, female mosquitoes searching for an appropriate aquatic habitat to oviposit their eggs should also consider the characteristics of the terrestrial landscape in which it is embedded. 2. In this study, a field experiment was conducted to test for multi-scale oviposition site selection in two mosquito species. Artificial pools were placed in two adjacent landscapes, olive plantations and a citrus orchard, mainly differing in their blooming periods and nectar availability. Pools were organised in three pairs: predatory caged fish were present in both pools, in one pool, or in none. 3. Early during the season, most of the egg rafts were laid by Culiseta longiareolata females in pools located within the blooming citrus orchard. When blooming shifted to the olive plantation, C. longiareolata become opportunistic. Culex pipiens females appeared later on during the season, when egg rafts of C. longiareolata were scarce, and they exhibited a higher selectivity to the olive plantation, although its blooming ended. In addition, the selectivity of C. pipiens to fish-free pools was stronger than that of C. longiareolata. 4. Culex pipiens was more selective, possibly due to its high dispersal ability, which can lower movement cost and enhance the ability to gather environmental information. A trade-off among gonotrophic cycles, combined with a shorter breeding season and limited recognition ability of the predatory fish may have reduced C. longiareolata selectivity. These differential oviposition patterns can strongly affect the population and community dynamics of both species.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)347-356
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank Eran Raveh and Arnon Dag from Gilat Research Center for providing their research units for this study. We thank Zvika Abramsky and Lotan Tamar Tov Elem for housing and rearing of the G. affinis fish. We would also like to thank Inon Scharf for providing constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Finally, YA wishes to thank Elad and Uriel Alcalay for their assistance in the field. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Royal Entomological Society


  • Complex life cycle
  • Gambusia affinis
  • mosquitoes
  • multi-scale habitat selection
  • population dynamics
  • predation risk
  • reproductive trade-offs


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