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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » ABADRU » Research » Research Project #432321

Research Project: A Study of the Indigenous Fauna of Culicoides Midges in Canada

Location: Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research

Project Number: 3020-32000-007-26-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Dec 15, 2016
End Date: Jun 15, 2018

To continue the ongoing targeted Culicoides survey project (LET-A-1402) for two additional vector seasons. The overall goal of the project is to enhance CFIA’s expertise in the area of Culicoides identification and distribution in Canada. The study will help to meet the OIE and Trading Partner requirements in the area of vector surveillance, and the knowledge gained will help the CFIA to prevent/mitigate potential exposure of Canadian herd to Culicoides-borne viral diseases.

1. Continue targeted sampling of Culicoides midges in western and eastern Canada for additional two years carried out with the help of veterinarians, entomologists and producers who participated in the 2014/2015 survey, and those who interested in future surveys (Eg: Dr. N.Nemeth-Univ. of Guelph). 31 CDC LED light traps will be placed in 8 provinces. Current collaborators have received training on setting up traps, collecting insects, storing and shipping to the CFIA-Lethbridge Laboratory. New volunteers will be trained using printed guidelines/protocols and though conference calls. Traps will be located close to farm animals, in areas with minimal pesticide use. Traps will be set up once a week at dusk and run overnight until the next morning using 6V batteries. Insects will be collected in soap water and immediately transferred to 70% ethanol. Insects preserved in 70% ethanol can be stored many years without any damage to their tissues or DNA. At the end of each month, trap collections will be shipped to CFIA-Lethbridge Laboratory to be will be sorted and identified. 2. Morphological identification of Culicoides species from trap collections: November 2016 - March 2017; November 2017 - March 2018. Under the completed WIN-A-1208 RPS project and ongoing LET-A-1402 project, a Research Scientist (Dr. Aruna Ambagala), a Postdoctoral Fellow (Dr. Bonaventure Agboton), EG-04 technician (Ms Tara Furukawa-Stoffer) and two undergraduate students (from Univ. of Lethbridge) have gained experience in morphological identification of Culicoides species. The training was done under the guidance of Stacey Vigil, an expert in Culicoides identification, at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. As a part of the training, a morphological key and a reference collection of slide-mounted Culicoides specimens were generated. The EG-04 technician with the help of two undergraduate students will analyze the trap collections and identify the Culicoides species. If any new species are discovered, DNA will be extracted using a non-invasive extraction method developed at the CFIA-Lethbridge Laboratory, and the same specimen will be shipped to Ms Stacey Vigil for slide-mounting and identification. COI and ITS genes will be amplified from DNA, sequenced (sanger or next-generation sequencing) and sequence data will be added to the existing COI and ITS databases at the CFIA-Lethbridge Laboratory. 3.Update the morphological key for identification of Culicoides midges of Canada: March 2018. The current morphological key for identification of Canadian Culicoides will be revised and updated to include new species identified in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 collections. 4.Upgrade the reference collection of mounted Culicoides midge specimens: March 2018. New Culicoides species identified will be mounted on glass-slide by S.Vigil; and added to the reference collection. 5.Expand COI,ITS sequence database of Canadian Culicoides midges: March 2018. COI and ITS sequences of new Culicoides species identified will be sequenced and the sequence data will be added to the existing COI and ITS database for Canadian Culicoides midges.