Alex Córdoba-Aguilar

Alex Córdoba-Aguilar
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México | UNAM · Institute of Ecology

PhD
I am always looking for friendly collaborations on insect ecology, conservation, and vector control issues

About

247
Publications
93,945
Reads
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5,348
Citations
Citations since 2016
109 Research Items
2897 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
Introduction
I am mainly interested in conservation biology, vector control and the evolution of mating signals, all of these using insects. I am happy to hear about collaboration and potential students
Additional affiliations
August 2012 - present
Simon Fraser University
Position
  • sabbatical leave
January 2008 - present
University of Bath
January 2005 - December 2012
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Education
March 1996 - September 1999
The University of Sheffield
Field of study
  • Evolutionary ecology

Publications

Publications (247)
Article
Full-text available
Land use/land cover change (LULCC) is a major threat that affects the viability of insect populations worldwide yet our estimates of such effects are usually poor. We analysed how LULCC affected the distribution of 49 species of dragonflies and damselflies in the south-central zone in Mexico during the period 2006-2012. For this, we mapped the pote...
Article
Full-text available
Cities function as ecological systems composed of a geosphere, a biosphere and an anthroposphere, interacting with each other and generating various selection pressures on urban organisms. Odonates (damselflies and dragonflies) are frequent inhabitants of urban areas, showing no clear or unique responses to urbanization. Thus, we defined an urbaniz...
Article
To efficiently face the accelerated landscape transformation and its consequences in restructuring biotic communities and ecosystem services, one first question is which regional systems deserve prioritization for empirical assessments and interventive strategies. For the particular case of vector-borne disease control, we should consider generalis...
Article
Sexual selection influences the expression of secondary sexual traits, which are costly to produce and maintain and are thus considered honest indicators of individual con-dition. Therefore, sexual selection could select for high-quality individuals able to re-spond to stressful conditions, with impacts on population- level fitness. We sampled dung...
Article
Full-text available
More than ever, there is a need to understand how pathogens, vectors and hosts occur temporally and spatially to predict the occurrence of zoonotic outbreaks. Related to this, mites of the Mesostigmata and Trombidiformes orders have the potential to transmit several diseases, yet their information of occurrence, distribution and zoonotic accompanyi...
Article
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Environmental change (i.e., urbanization) impacts species in contrasting ways, with some species experiencing benefits given their way of life (i.e., blood-sucking insects). How these species respond to such change is not well understood and for species involved in human diseases, this "how" question is particularly important. Most Triatominae bug...
Article
Infection may cause some insects to increase their body temperature to deal against pathogens successfully. However, one unclear aspect is whether females may use male temperature to discriminate sick from healthy partners. We tested this by using Tenebrio molitor beetles whose females use the intensity of male antennal and leg stroking that take p...
Article
Adult odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) exhibit a great diversity of colors which vary remarkably between species, between individuals within species, and throughout the individual's lifetime in some species. Here, we provide a summary of what is known about color recognition, and production of color including pigmentary absorption, structural...
Article
Even when an animal has a generalist diet, different food sources can impact its body shape and fluctuating asymmetry (a stress indicator; FA). To test this, we varied the food source (mammalian, avian or defibrinated mammalian blood; and control animals - ad libitum feeding) and the time of feeding (every 8 days, 45 days and ad libitum) having the...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have reported that males augment their reproductive success by increasing the number of females with which they copulate, and that such copulations are not energetically demanding in terms of trivial sperm production costs. However, we now know that males do pay reproductive costs. As males mate successively, a reduction in the per...
Article
Although collections of odonate insects have increased in recent years in Colombia, it is unknown whether the inventory list is complete for this country. Thus, we have investigated whether odonate species richness for Colombian endemic and total species by department and natural region, are complete using sample-and coverage-based rarefac-tion cur...
Article
Disturbance (e.g. loss of plant cover) increases ambient temperature which can be lethal for ectotherm insects especially in hot places. We compared the thorax temperatures of 26 odonate species as a function of body size, habitat quality (“conserved” and cooler vs “perturbed” and warmer) and suborder (Anisoptera vs Zygoptera), as well as critical...
Preprint
1. Latitudinal diversity gradient (LDG) is the increase in species richness towards the equator and is one of the most consistent patterns in biogeography, where current and historical processes contribute to shape the pattern. 2. Despite that LDG patterns have been described for some insects, the underlying mechanisms associated with community ass...
Article
Full-text available
In terms of conservation, Argentinian odonates have not been assessed using a quantitative approach. One way to achieve this is by modelling their distribution to gather the extent of occurrence. Thus, we modelled the current and future (projected year, 2050) potential distribution of 44 odonate species that occur in Argentina as well as in neighbo...
Article
Full-text available
We propose two modifications to enhance the laboratory technique described by Foray and collaborators (2012) “A handbook for uncovering the complete energetic budget in insects: the van Handel’s method (1985) revisited”. Foray´s protocol is a simple and fast method to measure different energetic compound levels in insects, i.e. glycogen, protein, l...
Article
We describe the perception towards COVID-19 in marginalized communities of youth, in Southern Mexico. These perceptions include trustable information but also some major problems (e.g. a conspiratory origin for the disease). These problems may represent an obstacle for COVID-19 prevention and treatment.
Article
Full-text available
Artificial objects can polarize ultraviolet light sources to a higher degree than natural objects like water bodies. This can induce a strong attraction response by insects that use such cues as proxies of habitat suitable for reproduction. Visible range polarized light (VRPL) can create evolutionary traps for aquatic insects, but it remains unclea...
Article
Full-text available
Background Relatively little is known about how pathogens transmitted by vector insects are affected by changing temperatures analogous to those occurring in the present global warming scenario. One expectation is that, like their ectothermic vectors, an increase in temperature could reduce their fitness. Here, we have investigated the effect of hi...
Article
Full-text available
Postcopulatory sexual selection has shaped the ornaments used during copulatory courtship. However, we know relatively little about whether these courtship ornaments are costly to produce or whether they provide indirect benefits to females. We used the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, to explore this. We challenged males using an entomopathogeni...
Article
Feeding behaviour is a dynamic process, especially if an individual is dealing with an infection. Here, we used Tenebrio molitor beetles to evaluate the effects of changes in diet macronutri-ents (protein:carbohydrate) on: (i) feeding behaviour before and after infection (using the ento-mopathogenic fungus Metarhizium robertsii) in males; and (ii)...
Article
Full-text available
BACKGROUND Dragonfly and damselfly larvae have been considered as possible biocontrol agents against young instars of mosquito vectors in urban environments. Yet, our knowledge about adult odonate predation against mosquito adults is scarce. We quantified daily and annual predation rates, consumption rates and prey preferences of adult Hetaerina vu...
Article
This is the introductory paper to the special issue on Insect Extinction. Insects are declining worldwide. Welcome to this special issue where we examine some causes, patterns and consequences of insect decline.
Article
Full-text available
effects of quality and frequency of blood ingested by insect vectors on their life histories are crucial to interpret their feeding preferences in the field. Triatomine bugs act as vectors of the Chagas disease, feeding on blood during their entire lives. Earlier research has shown that compared to avian blood, mammal blood has positive effects on...
Article
Sexual selection leads to the expression and maintenance of colourful signals. The metabolic pathways to produce such signals often involve toxic byproducts that can reduce survival. However, rather than discarding these otherwise harmful byproducts, animals may use them by integrating them into sexually‐selected traits. We tested this using the da...
Article
Morphological variation is widespread, and one case is that of female morphs in damselfly insects. Current knowledge indicates that these female morphs are maintained by a fitness balance whereby male-like, clear-colored females (i.e. andromorphs) are more likely to “escape” from male harassment given their male mimicking compared to dark females (...
Article
1. Analysis of geographic patterns of extinction must be accompanied by knowledge of biodiversity patterns. Such analysis is not yet available in insects given three shortfalls. First, knowledge of insect species' distribution is poor. Second, insect inventories have taxonomic, geographical, temporal and habitat biases. Third, the accelerated loss...
Article
Full-text available
Males of many insects deliver ejaculates with nutritious substances to females in the form of a spermatophore. Different factors can affect spermatophore quality. We manipulated males’ diet and health to determine the balance of macronutrients deposited in the spermatophores of Tenebrio molitor beetles. For diet, we varied the concentration of prot...
Research
Full-text available
La zoonosis por COVID-19 trae consigo numerosas lecciones para la humanidad. Una de ellas relacionada con la transformación de nuestro vínculo con la naturaleza, en particular con la vida silvestre, dado el probable origen de COVID-19 relacionado con el comercio ilegal de vida silvestre. De forma similar a las enfermedades transmitidas por vectores...
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystem services relies on several insects that provide fundamental functions. Despite the quality of these ecosystem services depends on insect diversity, abundance and biomass, little is known about the effects that individual body condition has over such services. One prediction is that starving or sick animals may provide a reduced service. D...
Article
The COVID-19 zoonosis is bringing about a number of lessons to humanity. One is that of transforming our links with nature and, particularly, wildlife given the likely COVID-19 origin from illegal wildlife trading. Similar to vector borne diseases (VBD, diseases transmitted by vectors), the COVID-19 pandemic follows related patterns (e.g. no effect...
Article
Ivermectin is the most common antiparasitic drug used in livestock in many regions of the world. Its residues are excreted in dung, threatening non-target fauna such as dung beetles, fundamental for cleaning dung in pastures. However, it is unclear which are the physiological mechanisms used by dung beetles to cope with ivermectin. Here we evaluate...
Article
Full-text available
In mating interactions, it is common in nature for both sexes to choose simultaneously. However, this mutual mate choice and its consequences for progeny has received relatively little study; an approach where both male and female condition is manipulated is thus desirable. We compared both sexes' preferences in Tenebrio molitor beetles when indivi...
Article
Full-text available
Long‐term multigenerational experimental simulations of climate change on insect pests of economically and socially important crops are crucial to anticipate challenges for feeding humanity in the not‐so‐far future. Mexican bean weevil Zabrotes subfasciatus, is a worldwide pest that attacks the common bean Phaseolus vulgaris seeds, in crops and sto...
Article
Full-text available
Insects are reportedly experiencing widespread declines, but we generally have sparse data on their abundance. Correcting this shortfall will take more effort than professional entomologists alone can manage. Volunteer nature enthusiasts can greatly help to monitor the abundance of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata), iconic freshwater sentinels...
Article
One remarkable reproductive feature in animals with internal fertilization is a reduction in sperm viability over time in females. Whether this reduction is driven by male–male competition and/or cryptic female choice is unclear. From the perspective of cryptic female choice, we postulated that sperm viability is affected by a particular male copul...
Article
Full-text available
One remarkable reproductive feature in animals with internal fertilization is a reduction in sperm viability over time in females. Whether this reduction is driven by male-male competition and/or cryptic female choice is unclear. From the perspective of cryptic female choice, we postulated that sperm viability is affected by a particular male copul...
Article
Full-text available
We developed an index of vulnerability for odonates (IVO) that occurred predominantly in Mexico to assess land use change. Vulnerability was defined as a function of A) habits of the species and B) ecological niche models. Index validation was done by relating it to rate of vegetation cover change, with the habitat preferences of each species and w...
Article
A widely accepted idea in parasite-host relationships is that the former manipulates the latter so that it increases its own success. In the case of complex life cycles, this means that the parasite is able to manipulate the first host which allows its transmission to the second host. In this paper, I formalize the idea that this may be the case fo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sexual selection maintains colourful signals that increase sexual attractiveness and dominance. Some sexually selected, colourful signals are pigments synthesized from ingested amino acids. The underlying metabolic pathways for these pigments often release toxic byproducts that can reduce individual survival. However, rather than discarding these o...
Article
Despite claims of an insect decline worldwide, our understanding of extinction risk in insects is incomplete. Using bionomic data of all odonate (603 dragonflies and damselflies) North American species, we assessed (i) regional extinction risk and whether this is related to local extirpation; (ii) whether these two patterns are similar altitudinall...
Article
Surviving changing climate conditions is particularly difficult for organisms such as insects that depend on environmental temperature to regulate their physiological functions. Insects are extremely threatened by global warming, since many do not have enough physiological tolerance even to survive continuous exposure to the current maximum tempera...
Article
Variation in the condition of females can affect their mate preferences. This may explain variation in the expression of male ornaments. We tested these ideas in the mealworm beetle (Tenebrio molitor), a species in which females choose males based on their pheromones. We modified female condition using diets that differed in proteins and carbohydra...
Article
Triatomine bugs carry the parasitic protozoa Trypanosoma cruzi , the causal agent of Chagas disease. It is known that both the parasite and entomopathogenic fungi can decrease bug survival, but the combined effect of both pathogens is not known, which is relevant for biological control purposes. Herein, the survival of the triatomine Meccus pallidi...
Article
Full-text available
The use of veterinary medical products and herbicides is a common practice in intensified livestock systems. These compounds affect nontarget organisms that perform important ecosystem functions, such as dung beetles. The assessment of body condition allows us to determine how individuals respond to changes in the environment. However, assessments...
Article
The use of veterinary medical products and herbicides is a common practice in intensified livestock systems. These compounds affect nontarget organisms that perform important ecosystem functions, such as dung beetles. The assessment of body condition allows us to determine how individuals respond to changes in the environment. However, assessments...
Article
Triatomines (Heteroptera: Reduviidae) include around 139 species, widely known as vectors of Chagas disease. Our aim is to review the existing knowledge of the genital morphology and sexual behavior and provide some functional analysis of these traits in triatomines. A complex set of traits comprise genitalia and these are highly variable among spe...
Article
Full-text available
Relatively little is known about the fitness effects and life history trade-offs in medically important parasites and their insect vectors. One such case is the triatomine bugs and the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the key actors in Chagas disease. Previous studies have revealed some costs but have not simultaneously examined traits related to develo...
Article
Parental care patterns increase offspring fitness but may drive energetic costs to parents. The costs associated with parental care can change over time, decreasing the condition of parents that experience prolonged parental care. Thus, males can modulate parental effort based in the relative fitness cost/benefit pay-offs under different stages and...
Chapter
Full-text available
La pérdida de cobertura vegetal es un problema grave y, entre otros, tiene efectos sobre la riqueza de especies. La vida de los insectos del orden Odonata la cual comprende dos grandes subórdenes, caballitos del diablo (Zygoptera) y libélulas (Anisoptera), se asocia estrechamente tanto con ambientes acuáticos de agua dulce como aéreos. Por esta raz...
Chapter
Full-text available
La urbanización es un fenómeno con consecuencias en varios de los atributos de los sistemas naturales. En el caso de los ambientes acuáticos, una consecuencia es el cambio en la calidad del agua, la cual puede ser evaluada con pruebas fisicoquímicas, bioindicadores, o ambos. Los bioindicadores son individuos -o sus restos-, procesos fisiológicos, p...
Article
Full-text available
In a changing world due to anthropogenic activities, it is increasingly urgent to identify the biological attributes that predispose species to extinction. Using phylogenetic comparative methods and International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List categories as a proxy for vulnerability to extinction, we evaluated whether body size, sexual s...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Theory predicts that parasites can affect and thus drive their hosts' niche. Testing this prediction is key, especially for vector-borne diseases including Chagas disease. Here, we examined the niche use of seven triatomine species that occur in Mexico, based on whether they are infected or not with Trypanosoma cruzi, the vectors and c...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Little is known about how human disease vectors will modify their life history patterns and survival capacity as a result of climate change. One case is that of Chagas disease, which has triatomine bugs and Trypanosoma cruzi as vectors and parasite, respectively. This work aimed to determine: (i) the activity of the prophenoloxidase sy...
Article
Full-text available
In a sexual context, it is expected that females base their choice of mate on the be‐ haviours that males perform during courtship, as such behaviours are associated with the male's mate quality. Stridulation is one form of female communication in arthropods, for example, spiders. In spiders, stridulation during sexual interactions is relatively co...
Article
Full-text available
Acanthoscelides obtectus (Say) and Acanthoscelides obvelatus (Bridwell) (Coleoptera: Bruchidae) are two sympatric beetle species that infest bean seeds (Phaseolus vulgaris L.; Fabaceae). Using field-sampled wild P. vul- garis pods and data of population density, body size, and parasitoid pressure for both species across elevation and temperature gr...
Article
• Climate change is a key stressor for species. Two major consequences of climate‐induced range shifts are the formation of new areas of geographic overlap (i.e. sympatry) and an increased probability of hybridisation in the de novo created contact zones. • One method to effectively quantify the potential of hybridisation is to integrate ecological...
Article
Full-text available
Reduction of terrestrial vegetation and degradation of water quality are among the factors driving insect population decline in growing cities. In this study, we investigated the extent of habitat deterioration, behavioral and physiological responses, and fitness of a damselfly [Hetaerina americana (F.)] population in a semitropical region in centr...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have shown that sperm viability (SV) is a key trait during sexual competition. However, this has not yet been tested in spiders as no protocol has been developed to quantify SV. Here, we describe a methodology for estimating SV using the pholcid spider Holocnemus pluchei (Scopoli, 1763). In this method, male spermatozoa were release...