The moquito, Culiseta longiareolata, protects its offspring by sensing chemicals released by its predator, the backswimmer, Notonecta maculata, before laying its eggs.

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Mosquitoes can detect the chemical signatures, called kairomones, of the predators that eat their larva. Mosquitos avoid areas that contain these kairomones when laying their eggs so that their offspring have a better chance of survival.

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“Many species of mosquitoes detect chemical cues of predation risk when choosing oviposition sites. Notonectids, which are common and effective predators of mosquito larvae, chemically repel oviposition of some mosquito species…Here, we chemically identified two compounds isolated from Notonecta-conditioned water (NCW) that repel oviposition by C. [Culiseta] longiareolata.” (Sillberbush et al. 2010:1130).
“Either hydrocarbon, H [n-heneicosane] or T [n-tricosane], alone significantly reduced oviposition. Together, they had an additive effect at these concentrations.” (Sillberbushet al. 2010:1135)
“The kairomones that influence oviposition by C. longiareolata and other mosquitoes that are important disease vectors may provide an environmentally friendly means of reducing mosquito populations…Repelling mosquitoes from a significant fraction of predator-free pools could increase mortality of adults because they would have to search longer for an acceptable pool, and the concentration of egg rafts in fewer pools could cause greater intraspecific larval competition. Identifying less volatile PRKs that reduce oviposition might improve a potential commercial oviposition repellent based on compounds such as H and T.” (Sillberbush et al. 2010:1136).

Journal article
Predator-released hydrocarbons repel oviposition by a mosquitoEcology LettersJuly 6, 2010
Alon Silberbush, Shai Markman, Efraim Lewinsohn, Einat Bar, Joel E. Cohen, Leon Blaustein

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Living System/s

Culiseta longiareolataSpecies

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