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Culex pipiens forms and urbanization: effects on blood feeding sources and transmission of avian Plasmodium

AuthorsMartínez de la Puente, Josué ; Ferraguti, Martina; Ruiz, Santiago; Roiz, David ; Soriguer, Ramón C. ; Figuerola, Jordi
KeywordsAvian malaria
Vector-borne diseases
Issue Date2016
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationMalaria Journal, 15: 589 (2016)
AbstractBackground: The wide spread mosquito Culex pipiens pipiens have two forms molestus and pipiens which frequently hybridize. The two forms have behavioural and physiological differences affecting habitat requirements and host selection, which may affect the transmission dynamic of Cx. p. pipiens-borne diseases. Methods: During 2013, blood engorged Cx. p. pipiens mosquitoes were captured in urban, rural and natural areas from Southern Spain. In 120 mosquitoes, we identified the blood meal origin at vertebrate species/genus level and the mosquito form. The presence and molecular lineage identity of avian malaria parasites in the head-thorax of each mosquito was also analysed. Results: Mosquitoes of the form pipiens were more frequently found in natural than in urban areas. The proportion of Cx. pipiens form molestus and hybrids of the two forms did not differ between habitat categories. Any significant difference in the proportion of blood meals on birds between forms was found. Birds were the most common feeding source for the two forms and their hybrids. Among mammals, dogs and humans were the most common hosts. Two Plasmodium and one Haemoproteus lineages were found in mosquitoes, with non-significant differences between forms. Conclusion: This study supports a differential distribution of Cx. p. pipiens form pipiens between urban and natural areas. Probably due to the similar feeding sources of both mosquito forms and their hybrids here, all of them may frequently interact with avian malaria parasites playing a role in the transmission of Plasmodium.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-016-1643-5
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