Entomology Research Works

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    Human biting mosquitoes and implications for West Nile virus transmission
    (Springer Nature, 2023-01-02) Uelmen, Johnny A. Jr.; Lamcyzk, Bennett; Irwin, Patrick; Bartlett, Dan; Stone, Chris; Mackay, Andrew; Arsenault-Benoit, Arielle; Ryan, Sadie J.; Mutebi, John-Paul; Hamer, Gabriel L.; Fritz, Megan; Smith, Rebecca L.
    West Nile virus (WNV), primarily vectored by mosquitoes of the genus Culex, is the most important mosquito-borne pathogen in North America, having infected thousands of humans and countless wildlife since its arrival in the USA in 1999. In locations with dedicated mosquito control programs, surveillance methods often rely on frequent testing of mosquitoes collected in a network of gravid traps (GTs) and CO2-baited light traps (LTs). Traps specifically targeting oviposition-seeking (e.g. GTs) and host-seeking (e.g. LTs) mosquitoes are vulnerable to trap bias, and captured specimens are often damaged, making morphological identification difficult. This study leverages an alternative mosquito collection method, the human landing catch (HLC), as a means to compare sampling of potential WNV vectors to traditional trapping methods. Human collectors exposed one limb for 15 min at crepuscular periods (5:00–8:30 am and 6:00–9:30 pm daily, the time when Culex species are most actively host-seeking) at each of 55 study sites in suburban Chicago, Illinois, for two summers (2018 and 2019). A total of 223 human-seeking mosquitoes were caught by HLC, of which 46 (20.6%) were mosquitoes of genus Culex. Of these 46 collected Culex specimens, 34 (73.9%) were Cx. salinarius, a potential WNV vector species not thought to be highly abundant in upper Midwest USA. Per trapping effort, GTs and LTs collected > 7.5-fold the number of individual Culex specimens than HLC efforts. The less commonly used HLC method provides important insight into the complement of human-biting mosquitoes in a region with consistent WNV epidemics. This study underscores the value of the HLC collection method as a complementary tool for surveillance to aid in WNV vector species characterization. However, given the added risk to the collector, novel mitigation methods or alternative approaches must be explored to incorporate HLC collections safely and strategically into control programs.
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    No association between habitat, autogeny and genetics in Moroccan Culex pipiens populations
    (Springer Nature, 2022-11-03) Arich, Soukaina; Haba, Yuki; Assaid, Najlaa; Fritz, Megan L.; McBride, Carolyn S.; Weill, Mylène; Taki, Hassan; Sarih, M’hammed; Labbé, Pierrick
    Mosquitoes of the Culex pipiens complex are found across the globe and are the focus of many research studies. Among the temperate species C. pipiens sensu stricto (s.s.), two forms are usually described: molestus and pipiens. These two forms are indistinguishable in terms of morphology but show behavioral and physiological differences that may have consequences for their associated epidemiology. The two forms are well defined in the northern part of the species distribution, where autogeny is strictly associated with the molestus form. However, whether the two remain distinct and show the characteristic differences in behavior is less clear in North Africa, at the southern edge of their range. The association between autogeny, as determined by ovarian dissection, and molecular forms, based on the CQ11 microsatellite marker, was studied in six Moroccan populations of C. pipiens. An overall low prevalence of autogeny was found at three of the Moroccan regions studied, although it reached 17.5% in the Agadir population. The prevalence of form-specific CQ11 alleles was quite similar across all populations, with the molestus allele being rarer (approx. 15%), except in the Agadir population where it reached 43.3%. We found significant deficits in heterozygotes at the diagnostic CQ11 locus in three populations, but the three other populations showed no significant departure from panmixia, which is in line with the results of a retrospective analysis of the published data. More importantly, we found no association between the autogeny status and CQ11 genotypes, despite the many females analyzed. There was limited evidence for two discrete forms in Morocco, where individuals carrying pipiens and molestus alleles breed and mate in the same sites and are equally likely to be capable of autogeny. These observations are discussed in the epidemiological context of Morocco, where C. pipiens is the main vector of several arboviruses.
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    Nutrient co-limitation of primary producer communities
    (Blackwell, 2011) Harpole, Stanley; Ngai, Jacqueline; Cleland, Elsa; Seabloom, Eric; Borer, Elizabeth; Bracken, Matthew; Elser, James; Gruner, Daniel; Hillebrand, Helmut; Shurin, Jonathan; Smith, Jennifer
    Synergistic interactions between multiple limiting resources are common, highlighting the importance of co-limitation as a constraint on primary production. Our concept of resource limitation has shifted over the past two decades from an earlier paradigm of single-resource limitation towards concepts of co-limitation by multiple resources, which are predicted by various theories. Herein, we summarise multiple-resource limitation responses in plant communities using a dataset of 641 studies that applied factorial addition of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in freshwater, marine and terrestrial systems. We found that more than half of the studies displayed some type of synergistic response to N and P addition. We found support for strict definitions of co-limitation in 28% of the studies: i.e. community biomass responded to only combined N and P addition, or to both N and P when added separately. Our results highlight the importance of interactions between N and P in regulating primary producer community biomass and point to the need for future studies that address the multiple mechanisms that could lead to different types of co-limitation.
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    Effects of diet quality on performance and nutrient regulation in an omnivorous katydid
    (Blackwell, 2011) Pearson, Rachel; Behmer, Spencer; Gruner, Daniel; Denno, Robert
    1. Omnivores by definition eat both plants and animals. However, little is known about how diet macronutrient content affects omnivore performance, or the extent to which they can regulate macronutrient intake. We assessed these questions using the salt marsh katydid, Conocephalus spartinae Fox (Tettigoniidae). 2. In our first experiment we used artificial diets with different protein–carbohydrate ratios to assess the effects of diet quality on survival, growth, and lipid accumulation. We found that diets with a high protein–carbohydrate ratio negatively affected Conocephalus survival. Among surviving individuals growth was not significantly different across the treatments, but lipid content decreased significantly as the protein–carbohydrate ratio of diets increased. 3. In a second experiment we explored the ability of Conocephalus to regulate their protein–carbohydrate intake. Results revealed that Conocephalus did not feed randomly when presented with two nutritionally complementary foods. A detailed analysis of their protein–carbohydrate intake revealed selection for a protein-biased diet, but a lack of tight regulate of protein–carbohydrate intake. 4. We discuss how key macronutrients can limit omnivores, and how nutritional flexibility may enable omnivores to persist in nutritionally heterogeneous environments.
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    Evidence for divergent selection between the molecular forms of Anopheles gambiae: role of predation
    (Springer Nature, 2008-01-11) Diabaté, Abdoulaye; Dabiré, Roch K; Heidenberger, Kyle; Crawford, Jacob; Lamp, William O; Culler, Lauren E; Lehmann, Tovi
    The molecular forms of Anopheles gambiae are undergoing speciation. They are characterized by a strong assortative mating and they display partial habitat segregation. The M form is mostly found in flooded/irrigated areas whereas the S form dominates in the surrounding areas, but the ecological factors that shape this habitat segregation are not known. Resource competition has been demonstrated between species undergoing divergent selection, but resource competition is not the only factor that can lead to divergence. In a field experiment using transplantation of first instar larvae, we evaluated the role of larval predators in mediating habitat segregation between the forms. We found a significant difference in the ability of the molecular forms to exploit the different larval sites conditioned on the presence of predators. In absence of predation, the molecular forms outcompeted each other in their respective natural habitats however, the developmental success of the M form was significantly higher than that of the S form in both habitats under predator pressure. Our results provide the first empirical evidence for specific adaptive differences between the molecular forms and stress the role of larval predation as one of the mechanisms contributing to their divergence.