, Volume 592, Issue 1, pp 373–385 | Cite as

Nestedness patterns of container-dwelling mosquitoes: effects of larval habitat within variable terrestrial matrices

  • Donald A. Yee
  • Susan Harrell Yee
Primary Research Paper


Distributions of mosquito larvae likely are a consequence of multiple factors, although two commonly studied factors (quality of the larval environment and the terrestrial matrix in which these habitats reside) have rarely and simultaneously been varied in the field to understand distributions of larvae. We monitored aquatic containers of two leaf detritus levels within a forest, prairie, and industrial habitat across five months to understand the temporal and spatial colonization of aquatic invertebrates in Northcentral Illinois, USA. Data were collected monthly on mosquito populations and the composition of other invertebrates colonizing containers. Overall, six species of mosquitoes colonized containers, with Culex restuans and Aedes triseriatus having the highest relative abundances. There were strong seasonal abundance patterns for these two mosquito species, with the dominant species changing over time in the forest habitat. The responses of other mosquito taxa were more variable, with abundances reflective of either the terrestrial matrix or larval habitat quality. High detritus containers supported the highest abundances of most species encountered, regardless of habitat. Non-mosquito taxa were less common numerically, but analyses suggested that some taxa, such as syrphid larvae, often co-occurred with mosquitoes. Nested subset analysis indicated communities were strongly nested, and that both habitat type and detritus level were important in explaining nested patterns of aquatic invertebrates. Our data show that both the larval habitat and the surrounding terrestrial matrix shape patterns of container mosquitoes, and that other container invertebrates vary in similar ways as mosquitoes.


Colonization Culex Detritus Larval habitat Life history Aedes 



We thank S. A. Juliano and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier manuscript. We also thank the staff at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie for allowing us to conduct this research, and especially C. J. Whelan for providing logistic support which was vital to the completion of this project. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease to D. A. Yee (R15 AI51374-01A1) and S. A. Juliano (R15 AI51374-01A1 and R01 AI-44793). This research was conducted by S. H. Yee independent of U.S. E.P.A. employment, and the conclusions are solely those of the authors, and not necessarily the Agency.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesIllinois State UniversityNormalUSA
  2. 2.Department of Ecology and EvolutionUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  4. 4.Gulf Ecology DivisionU.S. Environmental Protection AgencyGulf BreezeUSA

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