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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BITING ARTHROPODS: SENSORY ECOLOGY AND SURVEILLANCE Project Number: 6615-32000-046-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Nov 20, 2009
End Date: Jun 23, 2011

Objective:
1. Determine components of behavior leading to resource location by Aedes albopictus and Culex pipiens group species/hybrids. Resources to be studied are: resting sites, sugar sources, mates, blood-meal hosts, and oviposition sites. 2. Determine chemical and other cues associated with regulation and orientation of specific behaviors by Aedes albopictus, Culex pipiens group species/hybrids, and Ixodes scapularis that can be applied to the solution of operational surveillance and control problems. 3. Discover and characterize environmental predictors of the distribution of mosquitoes in order to assess the risk of invasive species and pathogen transmission. Apply to the development of methods and techniques to accurately assess mosquito population density, to deploy vector surveillance systems, and to detect exotic invasive species. Discover the current, and estimate the future (with changing climate) of spatial and temporal distribution of the mosquito vectors of vector-borne diseases in the United States.

Approach:
1. Conduct laboratory studies to describe and characterize behavioral steps involved in resource finding by mosquitoes that may facilitate discovery of new approaches for surveillance and control. 2. Determine factors that result in positive resting site selection responses by adult mosquitoes as a basis for optimizing use of natural and artificial shelters for surveillance of mosquitoes. Determine volatile chemical cues associated with mate location through behavioral and chemical studies. Determine cues used for location and utilization of sugar and nectar sources. Using behavioral, chemical and electrophysiological methods, plant-derived compounds that attract mosquitoes will be identified and then evaluated in the field for surveillance. Determine factors that influence host-finding behavior with emphasis on the discovery of new chemical attractants based on host odors. Visual, thermal, and other non-chemical cues enhance host-finding behavioral responses to olfactory cues and these will be evaluated to enhance trap efficiency. Devise strategies for mosquito surveillance that utilize cues from oviposition sites. Using behavioral and chemical analysis, new chemical attractants will be identified and evaluated in the field. Determine cues that regulate behaviors in ticks with specific focus on the role of host odor compounds that may provide attractants for surveillance. Evaluate the effect of toxicant exposure on arthropod behavior through detailed behavioral analysis to better target toxicant impact. 3. Develop methods and techniques to accurately assess mosquito population density through comparison of trapping, resting, and landing collections. Characterize environmental predictors of mosquito distribution in time and space through field sampling and spatio-temporal models to provide strategies for accurate assessment of mosquito populations. Discover and develop ecologic and climatic factors to assess population densities of actual and potential vector mosquitoes in the US, and using Rift Valley fever (RVF) as a model disease system, evaluate the risk of exotic species and disease introduction into the U.S. 4. Identify and evaluate attractants for larval mosquitoes that can be developed and tested in the field to provide new strategies for larval surveillance.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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