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Temperature, Larval Diet, and Density Effects on Development Rate and Survival of Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae)
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    Many environmental factors, biotic and abiotic interact to influence organismal development. Given the importance of Aedes aegypti as a vector of human pathogens including dengue and yellow fever, understanding the impact of environmental factors such as temperature, resource availability, and intraspecific competition during development is critical for population control purposes. Despite known associations between developmental traits and factors of diet and density, temperature has been considered the primary driver of development rate and survival. To determine the relative importance of these critical factors, wide gradients of conditions must be considered. We hypothesize that 1) diet and density, as well as temperature influence the variation in development rate and survival, 2) that these factors interact, and this interaction is also necessary to understand variation in developmental traits. Temperature, diet, density, and their two-way interactions are significant factors in explaining development rate variation of the larval stages of Ae. aegypti mosquitoes. These factors as well as two and three-way interactions are significantly associated with the development rate from hatch to emergence. Temperature, but not diet or density, significantly impacted juvenile mortality. Development time was heteroskedastic with the highest variation occurring at the extremes of diet and density conditions. All three factors significantly impacted survival curves of experimental larvae that died during development. Complex interactions may contribute to variation in development rate. To better predict variation in development rate and survival in Ae. aegypti, factors of resource availability and intraspecific density must be considered in addition, but never to the exclusion of temperature.