Calanoid copepods: an overlooked tool in the control of disease vector mosquitoes

Ross N Cuthbert, Tatenda Dalu, Ryan J. Wasserman, Amanda Callaghan, Olaf LF Weyl, Jaimie T A Dick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


Biological control can assist in the management of disease vector mosquitoes. However, we urgently require the identification of novel and effective agents to aid population management strategies. Previously, predatory biocontrol of disease vector mosquito species has focused extensively on cyclopoid copepods, but prey size refuge effects have been identified as a hindrance to their predatory efficacy. Calanoid copepods have yet to be examined in the context of mosquito control, despite their high prevalence, diversity, and distribution. Here, we apply functional responses (FRs; resource use as a function of resource density) to examine predation efficiencies of a recently described ephemeral pond specialist species, the freshwater calanoid copepod Lovenula raynerae Suárez-Morales, Wasserman & Dalu 2015 (Calanoida: Diaptomidae), using different size classes of larvae of the disease vector complex Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae) as prey. Lovenula raynerae effectively consumed Cx. pipiens larvae across their ontogeny. A potentially population destabilizing type II FR was exhibited toward both early and late instar mosquitoes, indicative of a lack of prey refuge across ontogenetic stages. Attack rates were greatest and handling times lowest for early instar larvae compared to late instar larvae. These traits contrast to other copepods commonly applied in biocontrol, which are only able to handle early instars, and in much smaller numbers. We thus advocate that calanoid copepods can exert particularly marked predatory impact on lower trophic groups, and that their use in disease vector mosquito control strategies should be further explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1656–1658
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Issue number6
Early online date01 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

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