|Wyeomyia smithii larva magnified 40×|
Wyeomyia smithii, the pitcher plant mosquito, is an inquiline invertebrate, a mosquito that breeds only in the phytotelma, the water contained by the purple pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea. In this microcommunity of bacteria, rotifers, protozoa, and midges, W. smithii is the top-level predator; its presence determines the bacterial species diversity within the pitcher. It is not in any way a pest mosquito, neither biting nor approaching humans or livestock, although earlier misidentification of other species of Wyeomyia in the Southern US states had created the impression that Wyeomyia smithii sometimes might do so.
Wyeomyia smithii is a model organism for the study of photoperiodism, the biotic process of controlling seasonal life history events by measuring day length as a reliable predictor of the seasons. W. smithii enters a state of developmental arrest, larval diapause, that is initiated and maintained by short day lengths and averted or terminated by long day lengths. Because of global warming and shortening of winters, W. smithii has been observed now to require shorter days in order to go dormant. This led to think that a microevolutionary selection is happening: mosquitoes that waited more to go dormant and which had a greater fitness have been more selected.
- Celeste N. Peterson, Stephanie Day, Benjamin E. Wolfe, Aaron M. Ellison, Roberto Kolter & Anne Pringle (2008). "A keystone predator controls bacterial diversity in the pitcher-plant (Sarracenia purpurea) microecosystem" (PDF). Environmental Microbiology 10 (9): 2257–2266. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2008.01648.x. PMID 18479443.
- King, W. V.; Bradley, G. H.; Smith Carroll N.; McDuffie,W. C: A Handbook of the Mosquitoes of the Southeastern United States. Agriculture Handbook No. 173. United States Department of Agriculture 1960
- William E. Bradshaw & L. Philip Lounibos (1977). "Evolution of dormancy and its photoperiodic control in pitcher-plant mosquitoes". Evolution 31 (3): 546–567. JSTOR 2407521.
- "Evolution 101: Examples of Microevolution". University of California Berkeley. Retrieved 2014-10-15.
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