Insect population dynamics depend strongly on environmental factors. For floodwater mosquitoes, meteorological conditions are crucial in the rhythm of mosquito abundances. Indeed, rainfall triggers the egg hatching after flooding breeding sites, and temperature controls the duration of the aquatic immature development up to adult emergence.
According to this, we have developed a simple mechanistic and tractable model that describes the population dynamics of floodwater mosquitoes as a function only of the most accessible meteorological variables, rainfall and temperature. The model involves three parameters: development duration tdev of the immature aquatic stages, the adult emergence rate function f(t) (characterized by the emergence time scale τ and shaping the profile of adult population abundance), and the depletion rate, α, of adult disappearance.
The developed model was subsequently applied to fit experimental field data of the dynamics of Aedes caspius (Pallas), the main pest mosquito in southern France. First, it was found that the emergence rate function of adult mosquitoes very well reproduce experimental data of the dynamics of immature development for all sampled temperatures. The estimated values of tdev and τ both exhibit Arrhenius behaviour as a function of temperature. Second, using the meteorological records of rainfall and temperature as inputs, the model correctly fit data from a two-site CO2 trapping survey conducted in 2004 and 2005. The estimated depletion rates (summation of the mortality and the emigration rates) were found to be a concave quadratic function of temperature with a maximum of 0.5 per days at about 22°C.