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  1. Evaluation Summary:

    This manuscript will be of interest to community ecologists working on the impact of predators on prey populations, as well as disease ecologists interested in understanding the potential role of predators on vector traits. The authors uncovered trends in the research that support beneficial impacts of predators on mosquito traits, from the standpoint of vector control.

    (This preprint has been reviewed by eLife. We include the public reviews from the reviewers here; the authors also receive private feedback with suggested changes to the manuscript. Reviewer #2 agreed to share their name with the authors.)

  2. Reviewer #1 (Public Review):

    This study presents a comprehensive analysis of the consumptive and non-consumptive effects of predators on mosquito populations. Using meta-data has allowed the authors to explore the effects of predators across multiple families on different mosquito species. This study emphasizes the need to use empirical data on vector traits in disease models and certainly has several insights for epidemiologists and theoreticians.


    The method for literature screening is robust and well explained. The criteria for study exclusion, in particular, are objective, and all requirements are reasoned out.

    The methods for data analysis are well described. The quantification of effect sizes and heterogeneity and assessment of publication bias, in particular, require a special mention. Such an elaborate methodology section will favor the reproducibility of this study and serve as a benchmark for other meta-analysis studies.

    An extensive list of published studies has been used in the discussion section to lucidly summarize the study's findings.


    This study does not have any significant weaknesses. However, I would like to point out an aspect that the authors could leverage, given the premise of this study. The authors discuss several criteria for exclusion of studies as well as data points. In devising these criteria and curating the datasets, the authors would have had an idea of how such studies could best report data. If possible, the authors could consider including such insights briefly in this manuscript.

  3. Reviewer #2 (Public Review):

    Russel et al. assess the consumptive and non-consumptive effects of predators on mosquito traits via meta-analysis and discuss how these effects could impact disease transmission. Their meta-analysis provides estimates of the impacts of predators on mosquito survival, size, and oviposition behavior, and how these effects are moderated by predator species, mosquito genus, and mosquito size. The ability of predators to regulate prey populations through consumption is well known, but until relatively recently, the non-consumptive effects of predators on prey traits has received less study. The authors point out that these non-consumptive effects could impact disease transmission and encourage further study on other mosquito traits related to vector competence and vectorial capacity.


    To my knowledge, this is the first meta-analysis quantifying the non-consumptive effects of predators on mosquitoes, showing the presence of predators negatively impacts mosquito size and deters female oviposition. The authors ultimately extracted data from 60 studies performed in laboratory or semi-field settings, and this database serves an additional benefit by providing a compilation of literature on the subject.


    Although I appreciate the meta-analysis, the implications of the work as described in the discussion may be a little overreaching, particularly the implications for WNV transmission during drought, which seems somewhat unrelated to the rest of the paper because of the weak connection to the role of predators in this phenomenon.