The relationship between climate and the distribution of Culicoides imicola in Iberia
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The biting midge Culicoides imicola was captured at 17 of 27 farms in Spain and Portugal during a survey of its distribution following outbreaks of African horse sickness in Iberia that occurred between 1987 and 1990. Farms were sampled approximately twice weekly from October 1992 to February 1995. Farms were widely spaced apart (maximum 850 km) and had considerable variation in climate. Across sites, summer temperatures ranged from 18.3°C–27.2°C; in winter the range was 4.4°C–11.6°C. Relative humidities in summer ranged from 37.2% to 90.1%. Proximity to southern Spain (Seville) was the most significant predictor of the presence/absence of C. imicola, but high summer temperatures and possibly dry summer conditions, were also important. Vila Nova de Milfontes in Portugal, where C. imicola was abundant and the climate is relatively cool, was an exception to the climatic trends at the other 26 sites. This exception points to a lack of knowledge of climatic requirements for immature development of C. imicola The absence of C. imicola from the three most easterly sites, which have apparently favourable climates, suggests a relatively recent invasion by this species into Iberia.
KeywordsMediterranean Basin Automatic Weather Station High Summer Temperature Bluetongue Virus African Horse Sickness Virus
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