Biological warfare in the garden pond: tadpoles suppress the growth of mosquito larvae

Allie Mokany, Richard Shine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


1. Although tadpoles and mosquito larvae may compete for scarce resources in natural freshwater systems, the mechanisms involved in such competition remain largely unstudied. 

2. Replicated artificial ponds were set up to examine the role of pathogenic interference (water-borne growth inhibitors) in two tadpole-mosquito systems from south-eastern Australia. One system comprised taxa that are commonly sympatric in freshwater ponds (tadpoles of Limnodynastes peronii and larvae of Culex quinquefasciatus) while the other comprised species that co-occur in brackish water ponds (tadpoles of Crinia signifera and larvae of Ochlerotatus australis). 

3. Water that had previously contained tadpoles suppressed the rates of survival and pupation of mosquito larvae in both systems. Fungicide reduced or eliminated this effect, suggesting that the growth inhibitors may be fungal organisms (possibly the yeast Rhodotorula glutinis) from tadpole faeces. Fungicide also enhanced growth rates of tadpoles. 

4. These results suggest that interference competition between tadpoles and mosquito larvae is mediated by other organisms in some ecological systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-108
Number of pages7
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemical interference
  • Competition
  • Crinia
  • Culex
  • Limnodynastes
  • Ochlerotatus
  • Rhodotorula glutinis


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