Host selection of Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus females in a semi-desert environment in Northern Mexico


Transmission of arboviral diseases such as those caused by dengue, chikungunya and West Nile viruses involves hematophagous insects. Arbovirus transmission is a complex process in which host selection plays an important role that determines the contact rates between vulnerable hosts and infective vectors. This paper describes host selection of Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) (Diptera: Culicidae) and Culex quinquefasciatus in suburban neighborhood houses located in the semi-desert environment of northern Mexico. All bloodmeal analyses were completed in engorged females collected by means of BG-GAT (BIOGENTS ®) traps and blood identification was made through PCR analysis using cytochrome b as reference gene. The results show that Ae. aegypti is feeding primarily on birds from the Galliformes and Columbiformes orders. On the other hand, Culex quinquefasciatus exhibits the same behavior as Ae. aegypti, selecting Galliformes as the main blood source group but exhibits different behavior regarding humans, feeding preferentially on humans over non-human mammals. Regarding resource utilization, Ae. aegypti had a broader niche (0.79) than Cx. quinquefasciatus (0.46). Pianka´s niche overlap index (0.79) showed that both species share many common hosts. Host selection for the mosquito species analyzed were found to be atypical from what is reported in the literature, which could have an impact on the vectorial capacity of the mosquitoes within the study area.

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The above authors acknowledge the activities realized in the present manuscript. Alan Esteban Juache made the experimental procedure and wrote the manuscript, Florinda Jiménez was the professor that planning the molecular diagnostic and all the laboratory procedures and Antonio de la Mora contributed in the design of fieldwork, and reviewing of the manuscript and Angélica Escárcega was the professor that made the statistical analysis and reviewing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Florinda Jiménez -Vega.

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This work was approved by the bioethics committee of the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juarez CBE-ICB-071-10-15.

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Juache-Villagrana, A.E., De la Mora-Covarrubias, A., Escárcega-Ávila, A. et al. Host selection of Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus females in a semi-desert environment in Northern Mexico. Int J Trop Insect Sci 41, 55–63 (2021).

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  • Arthropod vectors
  • Arbovirus
  • Niche overlap
  • Blood meals
  • Hematophagous behavior