Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Leaf inputs from invasive and native plants drive differential mosquito abundances.

Abstract

Ecological impacts of invasive alien species can be unpredictable and simultaneously span multiple habitat types and taxonomic groups. Invasive alien plants can have particularly severe impacts, and plant inputs into aquatic environments can profoundly alter community composition of invertebrates, such as mosquitoes. Here, we examine larval mosquito colonisation of aquatic containers treated with leaves from four different terrestrial plants: the invasive tickberry Lantana camara, invasive guava Psidium guajava, native sycamore fig Ficus sycomorus and native silver cluster-leaf Terminalia sericea. Larval mosquito abundances differed significantly accordingly to leaf treatment, whilst no mosquitoes colonised leaf-free controls. Leaf litter from the invasive L. camara, invasive P. guajava and native F. sycomorus drove significant increases in mosquito abundances relative to native T. sericea. We demonstrate the importance of plant identity for larval mosquito proliferations in aquatic habitats, with changes in plant community composition following terrestrial plant invasions potentially resulting in increased mosquito abundances. In turn, this may have implications for the vectoring of mosquito-borne disease.