Triatoma (genus)

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Triatoma brasiliensis (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Cleber Galvão, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Triatoma Laporte, 1832 - (kissing bugs)

The genus contains around 70 species of kissing bugs that are found in Central and South America, and also in southern parts of North America. Triatoma rubrofasciata, a species associated with rats and has spread to several port cities in tropical regions, outside the Americas. A number of Triatoma species are important vectors of the Chagas disease, caused by the flagellate Trypanosoma cruzi. The bugs feed on the blood of mammals and birds, sometimes also on reptiles, frogs and invertebrate. In humans, the bites can cause severe allergic reactions and disease transmission occurs when the wound becomes contaminated with feces from the insect.

During their development, the nymphs pass through 8 instars and the total life cycle might extend over 2 years. The adults are pear-shaped and 15 to 30 mm long, often with a characteristic pattern of reddish or yellowish marks on the abdominal margin. The head is cone-shaped, which has also lead to the common name "conenose bugs". The rostrum is straight, not curved like in other Reduviidae.

The most important disease vectors are:

For other species see the following list.

Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: