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null (Ed.)Condition-specific competition, when environmental conditions alter the outcome of competition, can foster the persistence of resident species after the invasion of a competitively superior invader. We test whether condition-specific competition can facilitate the areawide persistence of the resident and principal West Nile virus vector mosquito Culex pipiens with the competitively superior invasive Aedes albopictus in water from different urban container habitats. (2) Methods: We tested the effects of manipulated numbers of A. albopictus on C. pipiens’ survival and development in water collected from common functional and discarded containers in Baltimore, MD, USA. The experiment was conducted with typical numbers of larvae found in field surveys of C. pipiens and A. albopictus and container water quality. (3) Results: We found increased densities of A. albopictus negatively affected the survivorship and development of C. pipiens in water from discarded containers but had little effect in water from functional containers. This finding was driven by water from trash cans, which allowed consistently higher C. pipiens’ survival and development and had greater mean ammonia and nitrate concentrations that can promote microbial food than other container types. (4) Conclusions: These results suggest that the contents of different urban containers alter the effects of invasive A. albopictus competition on resident C. pipiens, that trash cans, in particular, facilitate the persistence of C. pipiens, and that there could be implications for West Nile virus risk as a result.more » « less
Macaluso, Kevin (Ed.)Abstract The western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus) is the most frequently identified human-biting tick species in the western United States and the principal vector of at least three recognized bacterial pathogens of humans. A potentially pathogenic Rickettsia species, first described in 1978 and recently characterized as a novel transitional group agent designated as Rickettsia tillamookensis, also exists among populations of I. pacificus, although the distribution and frequency of this agent are poorly known. We evaluated DNA extracts from 348 host-seeking I. pacificus nymphs collected from 9 locations in five California counties, and from 916 I. pacificus adults collected from 24 locations in 13 counties, by using a real-time PCR designed specifically to detect DNA of R. tillamookensis. DNA of R. tillamookensis was detected in 10 (2.9%) nymphs (95% CI: 1.6–5.2%) and 17 (1.9%) adults (95% CI: 1.2–3.0%) from 11 counties of northern California. Although site-specific infection rates varied greatly, frequencies of infection remained consistently low when aggregated by stage, sex, habitat type, or geographical region. Four novel isolates of R. tillamookensis were cultivated in Vero E6 cells from individual adult ticks collected from Alameda, Nevada, and Yolo counties. Four historical isolates, serotyped previously as ‘Tillamook-like’ strains over 40 yr ago, were revived from long-term storage in liquid nitrogen and confirmed subsequently by molecular methods as isolates of R. tillamookensis. The potential public health impact of R. tillamookensis requires further investigation.more » « less