Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Matthew Aardema

Committee Member

Kirsten Monsen

Committee Member

John Smallwood


Extreme weather events such as heat waves are becoming more frequent. This is a concern for both humans and other organisms like insects. Culex pipiens f. molestus mosquitoes are primary vectors of diseases including equine encephalitis, West Nile virus, Rift valley fever, and St. Louis encephalitis. With Cx. pipiens f. molestus being the primary vector of West Nile virus in North America, it is important to understand how more frequent heat waves affect their population dynamics. In this study, I compared the thermal tolerance of larval Cx. pipiens f. molestus that were exposed to prior heat stress to those that were not. I also compared the wing size of adult Cx. pipiens f. molestus when reared in three temperatures, low (16 °C), medium (22 °C), and high (28 °C). No significant differences were found in the survival between individuals that went through the simulated prior heat wave and those that did not. However, significant results showed an inverse relationship between temperature and wing size. These results suggest potential population growth issues within the Cx. pipiens due to smaller wing size signaling lower fecundity.

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