Mosquito larvae can detect water vibration patterns from a nearby predator

D. Roberts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Mosquito larvae have been shown to respond to water-borne kairomones from nearby predators by reducing their activity, and thus visibility. If they can identify the predator, they can then alter their response depending upon the associated predation risk. No studies have shown that mosquito larva may also detect water-borne vibrations from the predator. Final instar larvae of three mosquitoes: Culiseta longiareolata, Culex perexiguus and C. quinquefasciatus, were exposed to recorded vibrations from feeding dragonfly nymphs, to dragonfly kairomones and the combined effect of both. Predator vibrations caused C. longiareolata to significantly reduce bottom feeding and instead increased the more passive surface filter feeding. The larvae also significantly increased escape swimming activity. These behavioural changes were not significantly different from the effect of dragonfly kairomones, and there was no synergistic or additional effect of the two. C. perexiguus gave a smaller (but still significant) response to both dragonfly vibrations and to kairomones, probably due to a different feeding behaviour: when lying on the bottom, it was an inactive filter feeder. C. quinquefasciatus did not respond to either vibrations or kairomones and during these experiments was entirely an inactive surface filter feeder. Both C. longiareolata and C. perexiguus were thus able to detect and identify vibrations from feeding dragonfly nymphs as an anti-predator strategy. The lack of response in C. quinquefasciatus is probably a result of living in water that is highly polluted with organic material, where few predators can survive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of Entomological Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 9 2017


  • Culex perexiguus
  • Culex quinquefasciatus
  • Culiseta longiareolata
  • filter feeding
  • mosquito larva
  • predator avoidance
  • predator kairomone
  • predator vibrations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science


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