|Understanding spatio-temporal heterogeneities in mosquito communities and vector-borne disease risk|
There are over sixty species of mosquitoes in the Mid-Atlantic region but only a few are important disease vectors. In the first year of this work (2009), we began a pilot study to test the hypothesis that urban breeding habitats support fewer mosquito species but greater abundances of vector species (Figure 1). All mosquitoes require water to breed. Temporary pools of standing water near stream banks were sampled monthly from sites surrounded by urban (paved) and rural (forested) landscapes. Early results are shown below. We identified ten mosquito species. Four occurred in both urban and rural samples, including Culex pipiens. Three potentially important bridge vectors (mosquitoes that feed on both birds and humans) were found only in urban sites (Aedes vexans, Aedes albopictus, Ochlerotatus japonicas). A higher relative abundance of macro-invertebrates known to feed on mosquito larvae (i.e., dragonfly larvae) were also found in the rural site.