When devising methods to sample Aedes aegypti (L.) eggs from naturally-occurring containers to investigate selective oviposition, failure to take into account certain aspects of Ae. aegypti behavior can bias study inferences. In Iquitos, Peru, we tested three assumptions related to designing Ae. aegypti oviposition field studies, as follows: 1) lining containers with paper as an oviposition substrate does not affect oviposition; 2) diurnal egg-laying activity peaks in the late afternoon or early evening, and there is little oviposition during midday; and 3) the gonotrophic cycle length of wild females averages from 3 to 4 d. When wild females were presented with containers lined and unlined with paper toweling, the presence of paper increased oviposition in plastic and metal containers, but had no effect in cement containers. Recording the number of eggs laid by Ae. aegypti every 2 h throughout the day delineated a bimodal diurnal oviposition pattern, with a small morning peak, decreased activity during midday, and a predominant peak in the late afternoon and evening from 16:00 to 20:00 h. Daily monitoring of captive individual F0 females revealed that the gonotrophic cycle length was typically 3–4 d for the Iquitos population. These findings will be used to adjust field study design to 1) account for sampling eggs using paper toweling, and 2) determine the time of day and number of days over which to sample Ae. aegypti eggs. We explored how failure to consider these behaviors could potentially bias field assessments of oviposition preferences.
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Vol. 48 • No. 1