We began our work in Prentiss county, located less than an hour from the Tennessee border. Although the two sites we had hoped to survey did not have tires that had water or larvae, we did find a couple of local tire businesses that met our criteria.
|One of the two tire businesses we sampled in Prentiss, Co, MS. Many more tires were distributed around this site, and this is one location where we may likely find Aedes japonicus (see below).|
|Fig. 1. Aedes japonicus (note the gold bands on the thorax). Photo by A. Farajollahi|
|Fig. 2. Distribution of both Aedes albopictus and Aedes japonicus (lower panel) in the United States (original source unknown).|
We also collected at a site in Blue Springs, MS, which had a good number of tires located near some homes. The site was very large, and apart from tire inhabiting mosquitoes, we also encountered our first tire-inhabiting reptile! We've previously crossed off tire-inhabiting amphibians so we are hopeful to soon find some tire-inhabiting aves.
|A turtle using a tire as a resting site.|
|A frog (seen here in a tire from Waynesboro, MS in 2011) showing the reptiles how it's done.|
|Francis goes horizontal to investigate a tire in Blue Springs, MS.|
Our final trip was to Eupora, MS, located about 2 hours north of Meridan. As with all of our sites, we have been targeting tires that not only are available for mosquito colonization, but give us a good opportunity to understand the factors important in explaining patterns of community and population dynamics. Thus, we look for locations where tires are exposed to different environmental conditions or occur in a variety of locations. At this site, the tires were located under mostly pine trees, which will give us a good opportunity to investigate this form of detritus (i.e., pine needles) on community and population patterns. Pine needles have been shown to be a rather poor resource for developing larvae (e.g., Murrell and Juliano 2008).
|Francis, Alisa, and Chris (L to R) survey part of one of the piles in Eupora, MS.|
|Ashton (front) and Francis perfect the Henry Ford method of processing tires located along the small ridge to the right. Alisa can be seen over Ashton's shoulder doing something.|
With round 1 complete, we will begin round 2 in the next few weeks after everyone catches their breath and finishes processing all the data. So far, we have processes about 200 tires.