Host associations of biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae: Culicoides) near sentinel chicken surveillance locations in Florida, USA

Kristin E. Sloyer, Carolina Acevedo, Alfred E. Runkel, Nathan D. Burkett-Cadena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Quantifying host use is important for understanding transmission of vector-borne pathogens. Despite the importance of biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in pathogen transmission, the vector-host relationships of most Culicoides species are poorly documented, even in locations where active arbovirus surveillance is conducted. Polymerase chain reaction-based blood-meal analysis was performed on 663 blood-engorged Culicoides females collected by 7 Florida mosquito control districts at 24 sentinel chicken arbovirus surveillance sites in 2017. A total of 638 blood meals were successfully analyzed to determine host species source, representing 11 Culicoides species. The most commonly bitten host was domestic chicken (Gallus gallus) (presumably sentinel chickens), constituting 565 of 638 (88.6%) the total blood meals. Other common hosts included humans (5.8%), white-tailed deer (Odoocoileus virginianus) (2.5%), and brown basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus) (1.6%). Significant differences in distribution of mammal and avian blood meals were found for a number of Culicoides species, and these patterns did not vary across locations. These results indicate that sentinel chickens are exposed to bites by Culicoides, potentially exposing them to Culicoides-borne pathogens. The findings that vertebrate host use was consistent across locations suggests that each Culicoides species has affinity for one or more specific animal groups, and does not feed randomly upon available animals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-206
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Mosquito Control Association
Volume35
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biting midges
  • Blood-meal analysis
  • Culicoides
  • Sentinel chickens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Insect Science

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