Local extinction of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) following rat eradication on Palmyra Atol

Biology Letters
By: , and 

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Abstract

The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, appears to have been extirpated from Palmyra Atoll following rat eradication. Anecdotal biting reports, collection records, and regular captures in black-light traps showed the species was present before rat eradication. Since then, there have been no biting reports and no captures over 2 years of extensive trapping (black-light and scent traps). By contrast, the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus, was abundant before and after rat eradication. We hypothesize that mammals were a substantial and preferred blood meal for Aedes, whereas Culex feeds mostly on seabirds. Therefore, after rat eradication, humans and seabirds alone could not support positive population growth or maintenance of Aedes. This seems to be the first documented accidental secondary extinction of a mosquito. Furthermore, it suggests that preferred host abundance can limit mosquito populations, opening new directions for controlling important disease vectors that depend on introduced species like rats.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Local extinction of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) following rat eradication on Palmyra Atol
Series title Biology Letters
DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2017.0743
Volume 14
Issue 2
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description Article 20170743; 4 p.
Other Geospatial Palmyra Atoll