Impacts of diurnal temperature and larval density on aquatic development of Aedes aegypti.
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The increasing range of Aedes aegypti, vector for Zika, dengue, chikungunya, and other viruses, has brought attention to the need to understand the population and transmission dynamics of this mosquito. It is well understood that environmental factors and breeding site characteristics play a role in organismal development and the potential to transmit pathogens. In this study, we observe the impact of larval density in combination with diurnal temperature on the time to pupation, emergence, and mortality of Aedes aegypti. Experiments were conducted at two diurnal temperature ranges based on 10 years of historical temperatures of Houston, Texas (21-32C and 26.5-37.5C). Experiments at constant temperatures (26.5C, 32C) were also conducted for comparison. At each temperature setting, five larval densities were observed (0.2, 1, 2, 4, 5 larvae per mL of water). Data collected shows significant differences in time to first pupation, time of first emergence, maximum rate of pupation, time of maximum rate of pupation, maximum rate of emergence, time of maximum rate of emergence, final average proportion of adult emergence, and average proportion of larval mortality. Further, data indicates a significant interactive effect between temperature fluctuation and larval density on these measures. Thus, wild population estimates should account for temperature fluctuations, larval density, and their interaction in low-volume containers.