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Avian phenotypic traits related to feeding preferences in two Culex mosquitoes

AutorYan, Yiayue; Gangoso, Laura ; Martínez de la Puente, Josué ; Soriguer, Ramón C. ; Figuerola, Jordi
Palabras claveCulex mosquitoes
Forage ratio
Host-seeking behavior
Insect vectors
Trait-based approach
Phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS) models
Fecha de publicación2017
CitaciónDie Naturwissenschaften 104 (2017)
ResumenHost choice by mosquitoes affects the transmission dynamics of vector-borne infectious diseases. Although asymmetries in mosquito attraction to vertebrate species have been reported, the relative importance of host characteristics in mosquito blood-feeding behavior is still poorly studied. Here, we investigate the relationship between avian phenotypic traits-in particular, morphometry, plumage coloration, and nesting and roosting behavior-and the blood-feeding patterns in two common Culex mosquito species on a North American avian community. Forage ratios of the mosquito species were unrelated to the phylogenetic relationships among bird species. Culex pipiens fed preferably on birds with lighter-colored plumage and longer tarsi; furthermore, solitary roosting avian species were both bitten by Cx. pipiens and Cx. restuans more often than expected. These associations may be explained by greater mosquito attraction towards larger birds with a greater color contrast against the background. Although communally roosting birds may release more cues and attract more mosquitoes, individuals may in fact receive fewer bites due to the encounter-dilution effect. Mosquito feeding behavior is a highly complex phenomenon, and our results may improve understanding of the non-random interaction between birds and mosquitoes in natural communities.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1007/s00114-017-1497-x
issn: 1432-1904
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