Background: Mosquitoes are carriers for many diseases that significantly impact the human population such as dengue, malaria and La Crosse virus. When multiple mosquito species are present, the competition between species may alter disease spread. Two mosquito species, Aedes albopictus and Aedes triseriatus, both inhabit areas where La Crosse Encephalitis Virus is found. Infection of Aedes albopictus by the parasite Ascogregarina taiwanensis can decrease the mosquito’s fitness and impact its initial competitive advantage over Aedes triseriatus. The decrease in fitness occurs through the impact of Ascogregarina taiwanensis on female fecundity, larval development rate, and larval mortality.
Methods: In this paper, we examine the effects of parasitism of Ascogregarina taiwanensis on Aedes albopictus and Aedes triseriatus population dynamics and competition. We build a compartmental model using parameters based on published literature, simulate the dynamics of the system, and analyze the effect of parasitism on competition between the mosquito species.
Results: We show that increased levels of parasitism in Aedes albopictus will decrease the initial competitive advantage of the species over Aedes triseriatus and increase the survivorship of Aedes triseriatus. An understanding of how population dynamics are affected by this parasite can inform future mosquito control and mosquito-borne disease mitigation efforts.
Conclusions: Mosquito population dynamics are affected by many factors, including abiotic factors (e.g. temperature and humidity) and competition between mosquito species. This is especially true when multiple mosquito species are vying to live in the same area. An understanding of mosquito population dynamics is vital to preventing spread of these diseases.