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Blood meal host preferences of Culex salinarius Coquillett (Diptera : culicidae) in Chambers County, Texas
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Bloodmeal host preferences were assessed for Culex salinarius populations occurring along the upper Gulf Coast region of East Texas. Over a one-year period beginning in September 1991, blood-engorged female Cx. salinarius specimens were collected on a monthly basis from three field sites in Chambers County, TX. The source of blood contained in each specimen was determined using a modified precipitin test. The results were used to calculate seasonal foraging ratios for mosquito populations sampled at each site. No noticeable changes in bloodmeal host preferences occurred for Cx. salinarius populations sampled at the coastal marsh site during the study period. Mammals were the primary sources of bloodmeals for these populations, with most mosquitoes collected having fed on cattle. There was an increase in specimens testing positive for avian blood during winter (Dec.-Feb.) commensurate with the arrival of migratory goose populations in the vicinity. The overall foraging ratio, however, did not change. Culex salinarius populations sampled at the upper marsh site also demonstrated a preference for mammalian blood throughout the year. However, forage ratios indicated these populations varied in the mammals upon which they fed, with a number of specimens having fed on armadillos. Cx. salinarius populations sampled at the up-county site demonstrated greater tendency to select birds as bloodmeal sources. Mosquito specimens at this site tested positive for either passeriiform or ciconiiform birds, with a few specimens testing positive for rabbits and cattle. A preference was shown for ciconiiform birds during the spring (March-May). During the rest of the year, passeriiform birds served more as a source of bloodmeals for Cx. salinarius populations. Forage ratios indicated the use of passeriiform birds was not a function of preference, but rather a result of these birds being abundant at the up-county site. Results of this study substantiate earlier findings that Cx. salinarius females will use both mammals and birds as sources of bloodmeals. Females of this species are generalistic feeders and will utilize hosts that are in greatest abundance or which require the least amount of energy on the part of the mosquito to acquire.
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Includes bibliographical references.
Grieco, John Paul (1994). Blood meal host preferences of Culex salinarius Coquillett (Diptera : culicidae) in Chambers County, Texas. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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