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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329648

Research Project: Improved Biologically-Based Methods for Insect Pest Management of Crop Insect Pests

Location: Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research

Title: Vision in the common bed bug Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae): eye morphology and spectral sensitivity

Author
item Mcneil, Corraine
item Allan, Sandra - Sandy
item Koehler, Philip
item Pereira, Roberto
item Weeks, Emma

Submitted to: Medical and Veterinary Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2016
Publication Date: 10/29/2016
Citation: Mcneil, C., Allan, S.A., Koehler, P., Pereira, R., Weeks, E. 2016. Vision in the common bed bug Cimex lectularius L. (Hemiptera: Cimicidae): eye morphology and spectral sensitivity. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 30:426-434. doi:10.1111/mve.12195.

Interpretive Summary: Bed bugs are pests of public health importance and have recently experienced a resurgence in populations throughout the U.S. and other countries. In response to the re-emergence of these pests, new research initiatives have focused on improving understanding of bed bug physiology and behavior to provide a foundation for better pest management. Few studies have investigated the visual capabilities of bed bugs. In this study involving a scientist from USDA, Agriculture Research Service, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, Gainesville, Florida, in collaboration with colleagues at University of Florida, examined vision in bed bugs. Eye morphology was characterized throughout the life stages. Electrophysiological studies verified the presence of one photopigment with maximum sensitivity in the green region of the visual light spectrum. An additional visual pigment or screening pigments may account for sensitivity at higher wavelengths. This information provides a basis for development of optimally tuned photo-attractive traps for the detection of bed bug infestations as a necessary component of an effective insect control program.

Technical Abstract: Bed bugs as pests of public health importance recently experienced a resurgence in populations throughout the U.S. and other countries. Consequently, recent research efforts have focused on improving understanding of bed bug physiology and behavior to improve management. While few studies have investigated the visual capabilities of bed bugs, our study focused specifically on eye morphology and spectral sensitivity. A 3-D imaging technique was used to document bed bug eye morphology from first instar through adult and revealed morphological characteristics that differentiate the common bed bug from the tropical bed bug as well as sex-specific differences. Electroretinogram measurements were used to evaluate the spectral sensitivity of adult bed bugs. Male bed bugs were more responsive than females at some wavelengths. Electroretinogram studies provide evidence for at least one photoreceptor with a spectral sensitivity curve peak in the green ('max 520 nm) region of the spectrum. The broadened long wavelength portion of the spectral sensitivity curve may potentially indicate another photoreceptor in the yellow-green ('max 550 nm) portion of the spectrum or screening pigments. Understanding more about bed bug visual biology may be vital for designing traps, which are an important component of integrated bed bug management.