Wolbachia pipientis Hertig and Wolbach (Rickettsiales: Rickettsiaceae) are intracellular α-proteobacteria that occur naturally in Aedes albopictus (Skuse) (Diptera: Culicidae) and numerous other invertebrates. These endosymbionts can invade host populations by manipulating host reproduction. Wolbachia infections have been shown to impart both costs and benefits to hosts in terms of development, survival, and fecundity. Here, we monitor intraspecific competition among independent cohorts of infected or uninfected larvae. Levels of competition are manipulated by varying initial larval densities and food levels. Although larval density is observed to have major impacts on immature survivorship, sex ratio of eclosing adults, and developmental rates, the Wolbachia infection status had minimal impact on male immatures and no effect on immature females under these experimental conditions. Female and male immatures were observed to respond differently to competitive pressure, with the functional relationships of females and males consistent with scramble and contest competition, respectively. The results are discussed in relation to the evolution of naturally occurring Wolbachia infections in Ae. albopictus (i.e., natural population replacement events) and public health strategies that propose the manipulation of Wolbachia infections in Ae. albopictus populations.
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