Prior studies have demonstrated that Wolbachia, a commonly occurring bacterium capable of manipulating host reproduction, can affect life history traits in insect hosts, which in turn can have population-level effects. Effects on hosts at the individual level are predicted to impact population dynamics, but the latter has not been examined empirically. Here, we describe a biological model system based on Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito) that allows for measurement of population dynamics, which has not been accomplished in prior field trials or laboratory designs. The results demonstrate the studied populations to be robust and allow for persistent, closed populations with overlapping generations, which are regulated solely through density-dependent, intraspecific competition for limited resources. Using a novel experimental design, we compare populations that are either uninfected or infected with Wolbachia. The results show differences that include population size, eclosion rates, adult survivorship, and fecundity. The aposymbiotic populations were generally larger and adults longer lived relative to the infected populations. The outcome is discussed in context with naturally occurring Wolbachia invasions, proposed autocidal strategies, and the utility of the developed system as a biological platform for hypothesis testing and improved parameterization.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Mains, James W.; Brelsfoard, Corey L.; Crain, Philip R.; Huang, Yunxin; and Dobson, Stephen L., "Population Impacts of Wolbachia on Aedes albopictus" (2013). Entomology Faculty Publications. 51.