Submitted to: Journal of Medical Entomology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/23/2009
Publication Date: 6/30/2009
Citation: Obenauer, P.J., Kaufman, P.E., Allan, S.A., Kline, D.L. 2009. Host-seeking height preferences of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in North Central Florida suburban and sylvatic locales. Journal of Medical Entomology. 46(4):900-908. Interpretive Summary: The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has become the focus of intense control and surveillance efforts due to its importance as a backyard nuisance and effective vector for dengue, West Nile virus and other arboviruses. Critical to these efforts is the ability to effectively sample populations in natural sites. In this study conducted in conjunction with USDA’s Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) in Gainesville (Florida), the responses of Aedes albopictus were examined for different trap types and trap heights in a suburban residential and sylvatic habitats. The majority of Ae. albopictus were collected at 1 m compared to 6 m above the ground with most collections in the BG-Sentinel trap. Fewer were collected in sylvatic habitats compared to suburban habitats, likely the result of greater breeding sites. This information provides the basis for development of a targeted sampling strategy for this species for determination of local nuisance population levels and arbovirus incidence.
Technical Abstract: The response of Aedes albopictus to the BG-Sentinel™, Omni-directional-Fay-Prince and Mosquito Magnet-X traps was evaluated in four suburban and four sylvatic habitats in North-Central Florida to ascertain potential height preference of this species. These traps, which are primarily designed to attract diurnal mosquitoes, were set at one and six meters and were evaluated during 40 trapping periods over four months. We collected 45,640 mosquitoes, representing 26 species from 11 genera; the most common being Aedes albopictus, Ae. vexans, Coquilletidia perturbans, Culex nigripalpus, Ochlerotatus infirmatus, Oc. triseriatus and Psorophora ferox. While significantly more Ae. albopictus were captured at 1 m than at 6 m, fewer were captured in sylvatic habitats than suburban habitats. Though not statistically different, the BG caught more Ae. albopictus compared to the other two traps regardless of locale. These results suggest that while Ae. albopictus was captured as high as 6 m, the majority seek hosts at or below 1 m heights. This further supports prior research that although Ae. albopictus has shown to disseminate West Nile virus, it has not been implicated as a major vector for the virus which is likely due to its propensity to feed on ground dwelling hosts. The study also demonstrates how trap type, trap heights and habitats influence sampling estimates when determining species abundance.