Density-dependent intraspecific competition has been considered an important determinant of the dynamics of larval stages of Aedes aegypti. A model was published in 1984 providing a mathematical description of this density dependence, based on field data, that has since been widely used. This description, however, is based on the strong assumption that all mortality is density-dependent. We re-examine the data without this premise and find a reduced importance of density dependence, as well as a different functional form. Based on these discrepancies, we emphasize that the characterization of density dependence in the larval stages of Ae. aegypti should be based on a more complete dataset, and we use artificially generated data to explore how such additional information could help developing a better description of this density dependence. We review other empirical studies on larval competition, discuss the need for further dedicated studies, and provide a few simple guidelines for the design of such studies.
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