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Culicoides paolae and C. circumscriptus as potential vectors of avian haemosporidians in an arid ecosystem.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Haemosporidians are the most important vector-borne parasites due to their cosmopolitan distribution and their wide range of hosts, including humans. Identification of their vectors is critical to highlight ecologically and epidemiologically relevant features such as host specificity or transmission routes. Biting midges of the genus Culicoides are considered the main vectors of Haemoproteus spp., yet important information on aspects such as vector feeding preferences or vector-host specificity involving haemosporidian parasites is frequently missing. METHODS:We assessed the abundance of Culicoides circumscriptus and C. paolae and blood sources of the latter at the nests of cavity-nesting bird species (mainly the European roller Coracias garrulus) and in their surroundings. We also explored the prevalence and genetic diversity of avian haemosporidians in parous females of both species. RESULTS:Both C. circumscriptus and C. paolae were abundant in the study area and common at European roller nests. Culicoides paolae had a diverse ornithophilic diet, feeding on at least seven bird species. Human DNA was also detected in the blood meal of some individuals. Four Haemoproteus lineages, including a new one reported here for the first time, were isolated from parous females of both biting midges. CONCLUSIONS:Culicoides circumscriptus and C. paolae can play a locally important role in the transmission dynamics of Haemoproteus parasites in a community of cavity-nesting bird species in an arid ecosystem.

SUBMITTER: Veiga J 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6166282 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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