[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of blood meal source of arthropod vector species contributes to the understanding of host-vector-pathogen interactions. The aim of the current work was to identify blood meal source in Culicoides biting midge species, biological vectors of internationally important arboviruses of livestock and equids, using a new ecological approach. We examined the correlation between blood meal source identified in engorged Culicoides females collected in a suction light trap and the available vertebrate hosts along four rings (200, 500, 1,000 and 2,000 m) centered at the trap site and described the foraging range of the three main vector species of veterinary interest present in the study area, C. imicola, C. kingi and C. oxystoma. The study was performed in four sites localized in the Niayes region of Senegal (West Africa) where recent outbreaks of African horse sickness occurred.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the demographic history and genetic make-up of colonizing species is critical for inferring population sources and colonization routes. This is of main interest for designing accurate control measures in areas newly colonized by vector species of economically important pathogens. The biting midge Culicoides imicola is a major vector of Orbiviruses to livestock. Historically, the distribution of this species was limited to the Afrotropical region. Entomological surveys first revealed the presence of C. imicola in the south of the Mediterranean basin by the 1970's. Following recurrent reports of massive bluetongue outbreaks since the 1990s, the presence of the species was confirmed in northern areas. In this study, we addressed the chronology and processes of C. imicola colonization in the Mediterranean basin. We characterized the genetic structure of its populations across Mediterranean and African regions using both mitochondrial and nuclear markers, and combined phylogeographical analyses with population genetics and approximate Bayesian computation. We found a west/east genetic differentiation between populations, occurring both within Africa and within the Mediterranean basin. We demonstrated that three of these groups had experienced demographic expansions in the Pleistocene, probably because of climate changes during this period. Finally, we showed that C. imicola could have colonized the Mediterranean basin in the late Pleistocene or early Holocene through a single event of introduction; however we cannot exclude the hypothesis involving two routes of colonization. Thus, the recent bluetongue outbreaks are not linked to C. imicola colonization event, but rather to biological changes in the vector or the virus. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Molecular Ecology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Culicoides biting midges are biological vectors of internationally important arboviruses of livestock and equines. Insecticides are often employed against Culicoides as a part of vector control measures, but systematic assessments of their efficacy have rarely been attempted. The objective of the present study is to determine baseline susceptibility of multiple Culicoides vector species and populations in Europe and Africa to the most commonly used insecticide active ingredients. Six active ingredients are tested: three that are based on synthetic pyrethroids (alpha-cypermethrin, deltamethrin and permethrin) and three on organophosphates (phoxim, diazinon and chlorpyrifos-methyl).
Susceptibility tests were conducted on 29,064 field-collected individuals of Culicoides obsoletus Meigen, Culicoides imicola Kieffer and a laboratory-reared Culicoides nubeculosus Meigen strain using a modified World Health Organization assay. Populations of Culicoides were tested from seven locations in four different countries (France, Spain, Senegal and South Africa) and at least four concentrations of laboratory grade active ingredients were assessed for each population.
The study revealed that insecticide susceptibility varied at both a species and population level, but that broad conclusions could be drawn regarding the efficacy of active ingredients. Synthetic pyrethroid insecticides were found to inflict greater mortality than organophosphate active ingredients and the colony strain of C. nubeculosus was significantly more susceptible than field populations. Among the synthetic pyrethroids, deltamethrin was found to be the most toxic active ingredient for all species and populations.
The data presented represent the first parallel and systematic assessment of Culicoides insecticide susceptibility across several countries. As such, they are an important baseline reference to monitor the susceptibility status of Culicoides to current insecticides and also to assess the toxicity of new active ingredients with practical implications for vector control strategies.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Parasites & Vectors
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are important vectors of arboviruses in Africa. Culicoides oxystoma has been recently recorded in the Niayes region of Senegal (West Africa) and its high abundance on horses suggests a potential implication in the transmission of the African horse sickness virus in this region. This species is also suspected to transmit bluetongue virus to imported breeds of sheep. Little information is available on the biology and ecology of Culicoides in Africa. Therefore, understanding the circadian host-seeking activity of this putative vector is of primary importance to assess the risk of the transmission of Culicoides-borne pathogens. To achieve this objective, midges were collected using a sheep-baited trap over two consecutive 24-h periods during four seasons in 2012. A total of 441 Culicoides, belonging to nine species including 418 (94.8 %) specimens of C. oxystoma, were collected. C. oxystoma presented a bimodal circadian host-seeking activity at sunrise and sunset in July and was active 3 h after sunrise in April. Daily activity appeared mainly related to time periods. Morning activity increased with the increasing temperature up to about 27 A degrees C and then decreased with the decreasing humidity, suggesting thermal limits for C. oxystoma activity. Evening activity increased with the increasing humidity and the decreasing temperature, comprised between 20 and 27 A degrees C according to seasons. Interestingly, males were more abundant in our sampling sessions, with similar activity periods than females, suggesting potential animal host implication in the facilitation of reproduction. Finally, the low number of C. oxystoma collected render practical vector-control recommendations difficult to provide and highlight the lack of knowledge on the bio-ecology of this species of veterinary interest.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Parasitology Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
African horse sickness (AHS) is an equine disease endemic to Senegal. The African horse sickness virus (AHSV) is transmitted to the mammalian hosts by midges of the Culicoides Latreille genus. During the last epizootic outbreak of AHS in Senegal in 2007, 1,169 horses died from this disease entailing an estimated cost of 1.4 million euros. In spite of the serious animal health and economic implications of AHS, very little is known about determinants involved in transmission such as contact between horses and the Culicoides species suspected of being its vectors.Methods
The monthly variation in host/vector contact was determined in the Niayes area, Senegal, an area which was severely affected by the 2007 outbreak of AHS. A horse-baited trap and two suction light traps (OVI type) were set up at each of five sites for three consecutive nights every month for one year.ResultsOf 254,338 Culicoides midges collected 209,543 (82.4%) were female and 44,795 (17.6%) male. Nineteen of the 41 species collected were new distribution records for Senegal. This increased the number of described Culicoides species found in Senegal to 53. Only 19 species, of the 41 species found in light trap, were collected in the horse-baited trap (23,669 specimens) largely dominated by Culicoides oxystoma (22,300 specimens, i.e. 94.2%) followed by Culicoides imicola (482 specimens, i.e. 2.0%) and Culicoides kingi (446 specimens, i.e. 1.9%).Conclusions Culicoides oxystoma should be considered as a potential vector of AHSV in the Niayes area of Senegal due to its abundance on horses and its role in the transmission of other Culicoides-borne viruses.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Parasites & Vectors
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1. Anopheline larvae are surface feeders and allocate most of their time to search for food at the water surface. However, species of the Anopheles gambiae Giles complex may also show bottom feeding. The consequences of this foraging tactic for life history are unknown, yet may be relevant to understand inter-specific competition patterns.
2. The diving ability and activity of larvae of the main African malaria vectors, An. coluzzii and An. gambiae, at two different water depths (14 and 30 cm) were assessed. We further explored the biological relevance of diving for food harvesting by monitoring key life history traits in two species treatments (single or mixed species) and two food treatments (surface or bottom feeding).
3. Overall, An. coluzzii larvae showed more diving activity than An. gambiae. When feeding at the bottom both species, and especially An. gambiae, showed a delayed emergence and a reduced emergence rate. Moreover, An. gambiae also suffered a reduced wing length.
4. Mixed-species rearing had a detrimental effect on the life history traits of An. gambiae but not on An. coluzzii, suggesting a competitive advantage for the latter in our experimental conditions.
5. The present results confirm that anopheline larvae are able to forage for food at the bottom of their breeding site and that An. coluzzii shows a superior diving activity than An. gambiae and this at a lower cost. These behavioural differences probably reflect specific adaptations to different aquatic habitats, and may be important in shaping species distributions and the population biology of these important vector mosquitoes.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Ecological Entomology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study establishes the first faunistic inventory of livestock associated Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) species of Reunion Island (Indian Ocean), where bluetongue and epizootic hemorrhagic disease are regularly recorded. Single night-catches were performed at 41 sites using light suction traps at altitudes ranging from 0 to 1525 m, from March to April 2005. Five species were recorded: Culicoides imicola, Culicoides bolitinos, Culicoides enderleini, Culicoides grahamii, and Culicoides kibatiensis, among which at least the first three species are known to be involved in virus transmission to ruminants and equids. This is the first record of C. bolitinos, C. kibatiensis, and C. enderleini on the island. C. imicola was the most abundant species along the sea coast. C. bolitinos was more abundant inland and on two sites on the east coast. C. kibatiensis and C. grahamii were less abundant than the other three species and limited to two foci.Spatial distribution analysis of the different species showed that C. bolitinos, C. enderleini and C. imicola were collected at low altitudes, while the other two species were found at higher altitude. A morphological identification key for adult females and males is given, as well as cytochrome oxydase subunit I sequences. Phylogenetic reconstructions showed a clear divergence between C. bolitinos from Reunion Island and mainland Africa. This monograph will help to identify the Culicoides species in the poorly known entomological fauna of the south-western Indian Ocean region.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ghardaïa, central Algeria, experienced a major outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in 2005. Two Leishmania species occur in this region: Leishmania major (MON-25) and Leishmania killicki (MON-301). The two species are transmitted respectively by the sandflies Phlebotomus papatasi and Phlebotomus sergenti and probably involve rodent reservoirs with different ecologies, suggesting distinct epidemiological patterns and distribution areas.
The aims of this study were to establish risk maps for each Leishmania species in Ghardaïa, taking into account the specificities of their vectors and reservoirs biotopes, using land cover and topographical characteristics derived from remote sensing imagery. Using expert and bibliographic knowledge, habitats of vectors and reservoirs were mapped. Hazard maps, defined as areas of presence of both vectors and reservoirs, were then combined with vulnerability maps, defined as areas with human presence, to map the risk of CL occurrence due to each species. The vector habitat maps and risk maps were validated using available entomological data and epidemiological data.
The results showed that remote sensing analysis can be used to map and differentiate risk areas for the two species causing CL and identify palm groves and areas bordering the river crossing the city as areas at risk of CL due to L. major, whereas more limited rocky hills on the outskirts of the city are identified as areas at risk of CL due to L. killicki.
In the current context of urban development in Ghardaïa, this study provides useful information for the local authorities on the respective risk areas for CL caused by both parasites, in order to take prevention and control measures to prevent future CL outbreaks.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Infection Genetics and Evolution
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Biting midges of the genus Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) are biological vectors of internationally important arboviruses. To understand the role of Culicoides in the transmission of these viruses, it is essential to correctly identify the species involved. Within the western Palaearctic region, the main suspected vector species, C. obsoletus, C. scoticus, C. dewulfi and C. chiopterus, have similar wing patterns, which makes it difficult to separate and identify them correctly.
In this study, designed as an inter-laboratory ring trial with twelve partners from Europe and North Africa, we assess four PCR-based assays which are used routinely to differentiate the four species of Culicoides listed above. The assays based on mitochondrial or ribosomal DNA or microarray hybridisation were tested using aliquots of Culicoides DNA (extracted using commercial kits), crude lysates of ground specimens and whole Culicoides (265 individuals), and non-Culicoides Ceratopogonidae (13 individuals) collected from across Europe.
A total of 800 molecular assays were implemented. The in-house assays functioned effectively, although specificity and sensitivity varied according to the molecular marker and DNA extraction method used. The Obsoletus group specificity was overall high (95-99%) while the sensitivity varied greatly (59.6-100%). DNA extraction methods impacted the sensitivity of the assays as well as the type of sample used as template for the DNA extraction.
The results are discussed in terms of current use of species diagnostic assays and the future development of molecular tools for the rapid differentiation of cryptic Culicoides species.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Parasites & Vectors
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The swarming behaviour of natural populations of Anopheles gambiae and An. coluzzii (formerly known as An. gambiae S and M forms, respectively) were investigated through longitudinal surveys conducted between July 2006 and October 2009 in two rural areas of south-western Burkina Faso where these forms are sympatric. In both sites, the majority of swarms were recorded above visual markers localised among houses. In Soumousso, a wooded area of savannah, 108 pairs caught in copula from 205 swarms were sampled; in VK7, a rice growing area, 491 couples from 250 swarms were sampled. If segregated swarms were the norm in both sites, many visual markers were shared by the two forms of An. gambiae. Furthermore, mixed swarms were collected annually in frequencies varying from one site to another, though no mixed inseminations were recorded, corroborating the low hybrid rate previously reported in the field. The occurrence of inter-specific mate-recognition mechanisms, which allow individuals to avoid hybridisation, is discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY Bluetongue is a disease of major economic concern in Europe. Its causative agent, bluetongue virus (BTV), is transmitted by several Culicoides species (mainly Culicoides imicola and Culicoides obsoletus in Europe). The application of insecticides on animals may reduce transmission of BTV, however, no formulation is currently licensed specifically against Culicoides midges. The present study assesses the susceptibility of C. obsoletus to deltamethrin using an adapted World Health Organization (WHO) susceptibility test. Midges were exposed to different dosages of deltamethrin for 1 h, and mortality after 1 h and 24 h was recorded. Results indicated that deltamethrin is highly toxic to C. obsoletus since a dose of 1·33×10-4% was enough to kill 50% of the population (LD50) in 24 h. The deltamethrin concentration needed to kill 90% of the population (LD90) was 5·55×10-4%. The results obtained in the present work could help to create a system that can be used to assess insecticide resistance and susceptibility of Culicoides biting midges.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rift Valley fever (RVF) is a severe mosquito-borne disease that is caused by a Phlebovirus (Bunyaviridae) and affects domestic ruminants and humans. Recently, its distribution widened, threatening Europe. The probability of the introduction and large-scale spread of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) in Europe is low, but localized RVF outbreaks may occur in areas where populations of ruminants and potential vectors are present. In this study, we assumed the introduction of the virus into Italy and focused on the risk of vector-borne transmission of RVFV to three main European potential hosts (cattle, sheep and goats). Five main potential mosquito vectors belonging to the Culex and Aedes genera that are present in Italy were identified in a literature review. We first modelled the geographical distribution of these five species based on expert knowledge and using land cover as a proxy of mosquito presence. The mosquito distribution maps were compared with field mosquito collections from Italy to validate the model. Next, the risk of RVFV transmission was modelled using a multicriteria evaluation (MCE) approach, integrating expert knowledge and the results of a literature review on host sensitivity and vector competence, feeding behaviour and abundance. A sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the robustness of the results with respect to expert choices. The resulting maps include (i) five maps of the vector distribution, (ii) a map of suitable areas for vector-borne transmission of RVFV and (iii) a map of the risk of RVFV vector-borne transmission to sensitive hosts given a viral introduction. Good agreement was found between the modelled presence probability and the observed presence or absence of each vector species. The resulting RVF risk map highlighted strong spatial heterogeneity and could be used to target surveillance. In conclusion, the geographical information system (GIS)-based MCE served as a valuable framework and a flexible tool for mapping the areas at risk of a pathogen that is currently absent from a region.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The swarming behaviour of natural populations of An. gambiae and An. coluzzii (formerly known as An. gambiae M and S forms, respectively) were investigated through longitudinal surveys conducted between July 2006 and October 2009 in two rural areas of south-western Burkina Faso where these forms are sympatric. In both sites, the majority of swarms were recorded above visual markers localized among houses. In Soumousso, a wooded area of savannah, 108 pairs caught in copula from 205 swarms were sampled; in VK7, a rice growing area, 491 couples from 250 swarms were sampled. If segregated swarms were the norm in both sites, many visual markers were shared by the two forms of An. gambiae. Furthermore, mixed swarms were collected annually in frequencies varying from one site to another, though no mixed inseminations were recorded, corroborating the low hybrid rate previously reported in the field. The occurrence of inter-specific mate-recognition mechanisms, which allow individuals to avoid hybridization, is discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The swarm structure of two sibling species, An. gambiae coluzzii and An. melas, was characterize to explore the ecological and environmental parameters associated with the formation of swarms and their spatial distribution. Swarms and breeding sites were searched and sampled between January and December 2010, and larval and adult samples were identified by PCR. During the dry season, 456 swarms of An. gambiae s.l. were sampled from 38 swarm sites yielding a total of 23,274 males and 76 females. Of these 38 swarming sites, 18 were composed exclusively of An. gambiae coluzzii and 20 exclusively of An. melas, presenting clear evidence of reproductive swarm segregation. The species makeup of couples sampled from swarms also demonstrated assortative mating. The swarm site localization was close to human dwellings in the case of the An. gambiae coluzzii and on salt production sites for An. melas. At the peak of the rainy season, swarms of An. melas were absent. These findings offer evidence that the ecological speciation of these two sibling species of mosquitoes is associated with spatial swarm segregation and assortative mating, providing strong support for the hypothesis that mate recognition is currently maintaining adaptive differentiation and promoting ecological speciation. Further studies on the swarming and mating systems of An. gambiae, with the prospect of producing a predictive model of swarm distribution, are needed to inform any future efforts to implement strategies based on the use of GMM or SIT.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The swarming behavior of natural populations of Anopheles arabiensis was investigated by conducting transect surveys on 10 consecutive days, around dusk, from March to April and from September to October 2012 in Dioulassoba, a district of Bobo-Dioulasso city in Burkina Faso (West Africa). Swarms were observed outside, around identified larval breeding sites on the banks of the Houet River, as well as in the open-air courtyards found at the centre of many homes in the region. Swarms were found to occur in open sunlit spaces, mostly located above physical or visual cues somehow visually distinct from the surrounding area. Overall 67 and 78 swarms were observed, respectively, during the dry season (March-April) and the rainy season (September-October) of 2012, between 1.5 and 4.5 meters above the ground at their centre. 964 mosquitoes were collected and analyzed from dry season swarms, of which most were male, and all were An. arabiensis, as were the few resting mosquitoes collected indoors. Larvae collected from breeding sites found on the banks of the Houet River mostly consisted of An. arabiensis and only a minority of Anopheles coluzzii (formerly identified as An. gambiae M form). Of 1694 mosquitoes analyzed from 78 swarms in the rainy season collections, a few An. gambiae (formerly known as An. gambiae S form) males were identified, and the remainders were An. arabiensis. The majority of larvae collected during the wet season from the same breeding sites were identified as An. arabiensis followed by An. coluzzii and An. gambiae. The same pattern of species composition was observed in resting mosquitoes, though the proportion of An. arabiensis was less overwhelming. These data support the conclusion that An. arabiensis is the most prevalent species in this area, though the difference in species composition when using different population sampling techniques is noteworthy. Further studies are required for more detailed investigations of male dispersal, feeding behaviour and mating patterns in this urban setting.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Before the release of genetically-modified or sterile male mosquitoes in an attempt to control local populations of malaria vectors, it is crucial to determine male traits involved in mating success. The effects of male size and age as determinants of male mating success in Anopheles gambiae s.s. were measured in the field and under laboratory conditions in Burkina Faso. First, the body sizes (estimated by wing length) of mating, swarming, and indoor-resting male mosquitoes were compared over a 3-yr period (2006-2009) from July to October in Soumousso and Vallée du Kou, two villages in western Burkina Faso. Second, the age structure of swarming and resting male mosquitoes were characterized based on the number of spermatocysts and the proportion of sperm in the reservoir of wild-caught male testis. Third, male age effects on the insemination rate of female An. gambiae were investigated in the laboratory. The mean size of males collected in copula was significantly larger than the mean for swarming males and indoor-resting males. The optimum male age for successful insemination of females was 4-8 d. These results suggest that male size is an important trait in determining male mating competitiveness in the field. Although age was not found to be a significant factor in mating competitiveness, it was significantly correlated with swarming behaviors in the field and insemination success in the laboratory. The implications of these results in terms of sexual selection in An. gambiae and vector control programs are further discussed.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Journal of Medical Entomology