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Diapause characterization in the invasive alien mosquito species Aedes koreicus: a laboratory experiment.

Abstract

Aedes koreicus is an invasive alien mosquito species native to Asia now introduced in several European countries, including northern Italy. In this temperate region, mosquito populations survive cold winter temperatures thanks to diapausing eggs or adults, depending on the species. In its native area, Ae. koreicus was reported to overwinter in the egg stage, but to the best of our knowledge, it is not confirmed whether overwintering eggs are actually diapausing or only in a quiescence stage, i.e., they might hatch as soon as external conditions are favorable. Based on previous laboratory studies, we established a diapausing Ae. koreicus colony, maintained at 21 °C with a photoperiod of 12L:12D. Females were allowed to lay eggs, which were consequently placed in water at different time intervals after oviposition, from 30 days to 5 months. We found that diapausing eggs younger than 3 months have a poor hatching rate, while after about 100 days we observed that almost all eggs hatched. Our findings highlight that water immersion alone did not lead to the hatching of eggs, as age was found to be a significantly important factor. We thus confirm effective diapause, occurring at the egg stage, for Ae. koreicus in a recently invaded area. Moreover, our quantification of diapause duration and hatching success might help in better designing future experiments and improving modeling efforts.

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