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Assessment of vector/host contact: comparison of animal-baited traps and UV-light/suction trap for collecting Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), vectors of Orbiviruses

Assessment of vector/host contact: comparison of animal-baited traps and UV-light/suction trap for collecting Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Cerat

Assessment of vector/host contact: comparison of animal-baited traps and UV-light/suction trap for collecting Culicoides biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), vectors of Orbiviruses  
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Background  The emergence and massive spread of bluetongue in Western Europe during 2006-2008 had disastrous consequences for sheep and cattle production and confirmed the ability of Palaearctic Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) to transmit the virus. Some aspects of Culicoides ecology, especially host-seeking and feeding behaviors, remain insufficiently described due to the difficulty of collecting them directly on a bait animal, the most reliable method to evaluate biting rates. Our aim was to compare typical animal-baited traps (drop trap and direct aspiration) to both a new sticky cover trap and a UV-light/suction trap (the most commonly used method to collect Culicoides). Methods/results  Collections were made from 1.45 hours before sunset to 1.45 hours after sunset in June/July 2009 at an experimental sheep farm (INRA, Nouzilly, Western France), with 3 replicates of a 4 sites × 4 traps randomized Latin square using one sheep per site. Collected Culicoides individuals were sorted morphologically to species, sex and physiological stages for females. Sibling species were identified using a molecular assay. A total of 534 Culicoides belonging to 17 species was collected. Abundance was maximal in the drop trap (232 females and 4 males from 10 species) whereas the diversity was the highest in the UV-light/suction trap (136 females and 5 males from 15 species). Significant between-trap differences abundance and parity rates were observed. Conclusions  Only the direct aspiration collected exclusively host-seeking females, despite a concern that human manipulation may influence estimation of the biting rate. The sticky cover trap assessed accurately the biting rate of abundant species even if it might act as an interception trap. The drop trap collected the highest abundance of Culicoides and may have caught individuals not attracted by sheep but by its structure. Finally, abundances obtained using the UV-light/suction trap did not estimate accurately Culicoides biting rate.
Journal: Parasites & Vectors - Parasites Vectors , vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 1-12, 2011
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