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ARS Home » Plains Area » Manhattan, Kansas » Center for Grain and Animal Health Research » ABADRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308128

Title: Sugar-feeding status alters biting midge photoattraction

item SNYDER, DARREN - Kansas State University
item CERNICCHIARO, NATALIA - Kansas State University
item Cohnstaedt, Lee

Submitted to: Medical and Veterinary Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/7/2015
Publication Date: 11/11/2015
Citation: Snyder, D., Cernicchiaro, N., Cohnstaedt, L.W. 2015. Sugar-feeding status alters biting midge photoattraction. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 30:31-38.

Interpretive Summary: The biting midge, Culicoides sonorensis Wirth and Jones (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), vectors both livestock and wildlife diseases. Midge fieldwork depends heavily on light traps for collection. Little is known regarding midge vision, photoattraction, or light spectra preferences. A biological light assay arena was constructed and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) of various light spectra were used as light sources to evaluate midge photoattraction. A comparison of responses to light spectra indicated the highest proportion of C. sonorensis were attracted to UV light, and that midges were able to distinguish 10 nm differences in light wavelengths. Ultraviolet light intensity was also evaluated and Culicoides showed a higher level of attraction to stronger intensities. Midges exhibited sugar seeking and escape behaviors under different sugar supplementation scenarios before and during the experiment, which can be attributed to lights of 355 nm and 365 nm wavelengths. Based on the results of this study, C. sonorensis attraction to light traps can be improved by using more intense (brighter) lights of 355 or 365 nm wavelengths.

Technical Abstract: Biting midges transmit disease in livestock and wildlife that result in significant loss of value. Therefore understanding biting midge attraction to light is important for monitoring the insect populations and possibly using traps to reduce populations. This study determined that color of light is important and ultraviolet light is the most attractive color. Furthermore light intensity matters and the brighter the light, the stronger the attraction. The most interesting aspect of the study was biting midges can differentiate between 10 nm differences in wavelengths and they use them to differentiate between avenues of escape and visual indicators of food.