Dynamic simulation models provide vector abundance estimates using only meteorological data. However, model outcomes may heavily depend on the assumptions used to parameterize them. We conducted a sensitivity analysis for a model of Aedes aegypti (L.) abundance using weather data from two locations where this vector is established, La Margarita, Puerto Rico and Tucson, Arizona. We tested the effect of simplifying temperature-dependent development and mortality rates and of changing development and mortality thresholds as compared with baselines estimated using biophysical models. The simplified development and mortality rates had limited effect on abundance estimates in either location. However, in Tucson, where the vector is established but has not transmitted viruses, a difference of 5 °C resulted in populations either surviving or collapsing in the hot Arizona mid-summer, depending on the temperature thresholds. We find three important implications of the observed sensitivity to temperature thresholds. First, this analysis indicates the need for better estimates of the temperature tolerance thresholds to refine entomologic risk mapping for disease vectors. Second, our results highlight the importance of extreme temperatures on vector survival at the marginal areas of this vector's distribution. Finally, the model suggests that adaptation to warmer temperatures may shift regions of pathogen transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-877
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of medical entomology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Aedes aegypti
  • climate
  • population dynamics
  • temperature threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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