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Morphological and fecundity traits of Culex mosquitoes caught in gravid traps in urban and rural Berkshire, UK

Townroe, S. and Callaghan, A. (2015) Morphological and fecundity traits of Culex mosquitoes caught in gravid traps in urban and rural Berkshire, UK. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 105 (5). pp. 615-620. ISSN 0007-4853

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S000748531500053X

Abstract/Summary

Culex pipiens s.l. is one of the primary vectors of West Nile Virus in the USA and Continental Europe. The seasonal abundance and eco-behavioural characteristics of the typical form, Cx. pipiens pipiens, make it a key putative vector in Britain. Surveillance of Culex larvae and adults is essential to detect any changes to spatial and seasonal activity or morphological traits that may increase the risk of disease transmission. Here we report the use of the modified Reiter gravid box trap, which is commonly used in the USA but scarcely used in the UK, to assess its suitability as a tool for British female Culex mosquito surveillance. Trapping was carried out at 110 sites in urban and rural gardens in Berkshire in May, July and September 2013. We tested if reproductively active adult female Culex are more abundant in urban than rural gardens and if wing characteristic traits and egg raft size are influenced by location and seasonal variations. Gravid traps were highly selective for Culex mosquitoes, on average catching significantly more per trap in urban gardens (32.4 ± 6.2) than rural gardens (19.3 ± 4.0) and more in July than in May or September. The majority of females were caught alive in a good condition. Wing lengths were measured as an indicator of size. Females flying in September were significantly smaller than females in May or July. Further non-significant differences in morphology and fecundity between urban and rural populations were found that should be explored further across the seasons.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:44849
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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