Journal of Vector Ecology (2012) 37, 20-28

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David Roiz, Ana Vazquez, Roberto Rosà, Joaquin Muñoz, Daniele Arnoldi, Fausta Rosso, Jordi Figuerola, Antonio Tenorio and Annapaola Rizzoli (2012)
Blood meal analysis, flavivirus screening, and influence of meteorological variables on the dynamics of potential mosquito vectors of West Nile Virus in northern Italy
Journal of Vector Ecology 37 (1), 20-28
Abstract: An extended area of northern Italy has experienced several West Nile virus (WNV) outbreaks and the emergence of Usutu virus (USUV) during previous years. Our aim was to study some of the factors that could explain disease patterns in the Trentino region, where circulation was detected in human sera and sentinel chickens, but no human or equine cases were reported. We collected Culex species (Diptera: Culicidae) in peridomestic environments. The collected specimens were analyzed for feeding behavior, the influence of temperature and rainfall on the abundance of mosquitoes, and the occurrence of flaviruses. Analysis of blood meals showed that Culex pipiens fed mainly on blackbirds (Turdus merula) and house sparrows (Passer domesticus), while Culex hortensis fed strictly on lizards. The abundance of Cx. pipiens females correlated positively with mean temperature and negatively with rainfall (one to four weeks before capture). This negative relationship could be due to the direct effect of the flushing of habitats together with an indirect effect of oviposition repellency. The mean weekly temperature influenced the abundance of Cx. hortensis. No flaviviruses were detected in the analyzed Culex mosquitoes. These data suggest a silent cycle at low enzootic transmission levels in the area. Furthermore, we present the first contribution to understanding the transmission role of Cx. pipiens mosquitoes in Italy by identifying vertebrate hosts to species level.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): David Roiz, Jordi Figuerola

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution
population dynamics/ epidemiology

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Culex pipiens Italy