Toxorhynchites mosquitoes have been studied as potential biological mosquito control agents because they consume other mosquito larvae. As a top predator, Toxorhynchites species are also considered keystone predators in phytotelmata. However, limited information is available regarding Toxorhynchites christophi, which is found in northeast Asia. The present study investigated whether Tx. christophi could reduce mosquito populations and increase species diversity by functioning as a mosquito control agent and keystone predator, respectively. During the study, aquatic insects were collected every three weeks (May–October, 2018) from tire habitats, which resemble treehole ecosystems, at the Korean National Arboretum in the central region of the Korean Peninsula. The samples were separated into the surface- and the substrate-groups based on their behavior, and the communities were compared based on the density of Tx. christophi. As a result, the communities with a higher density of the predators showed a higher diversity and evenness, and the communities also had a lower mosquito ratio, dominance, and density of the surface-group. The results of both non-metric multi-dimensional scaling and one-way analysis of similarities also indicated that the communities were affected by the density of Tx. christophi larvae. Similarity percentage analysis results revealed the effects of this predator on the communities could mainly be attributed to reductions in the densities of the three dominant mosquito species (Aedes koreicus, Ae. flavopictus, and Tripteroides bambusa). Thus, Tx. christophi may be valuable as both a biological mosquito control agent and keystone species of treehole ecosystems by reducing dominant mosquito species and improving species diversity.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2