Evaluation of seasonal feeding patterns of West Nile virus vectors in Bernalillo Co., NM: implications for disease transmission.By Lujan et al.
Lujan DA, Greenberg JA, Hung AS, Dimenna MA, Hofkin BV. 2014. Evaluation of seasonal feeding patterns of West Nile virus vectors in Bernalillo county, New Mexico, United States: implications for disease transmission. J Med Entomol. 51(1): 264-268.
Many mosquito species take bloodmeals predominantly from either birds or mammals. Other mosquito species are less host-specific and feed readily on both. Furthermore, some species tend to alter their feeding patterns over the course of the year; early in the mosquito season such species may feed primarily on a particular host type, and subsequently take an increasingly larger proportion of their bloodmeals from an alternative host type as the season progresses. We have examined the feeding patterns of the three mosquito species found in Bernalillo County, NM: Culex quinquefasciatus (Say), Culex tarsalis (Coquillett), and Aedes vexans (Meigen). Specifically, we seek to determine if any of these species displays a seasonal shift in terms of its host utilization pattern. Our analysis focuses on these three species because they are all considered to be competent vectors for the West Nile virus (WNV). Our current data for Cx. quinquefasciatus suggest that unlike elsewhere in its range, this species increases its proportion of avian bloodmeals as the season progresses. Alternatively, Ae. vexans feeds primarily on mammals, whereas Cx. tarsalis appears to feed on both mammals and birds throughout the mosquito season. A more complete understanding of the feeding habits of these three mosquito species may help to clarify the transmission dynamics of WNV in Bernalillo County.