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A survey of Culicoides developmental sites on a farm in northern Spain, with a brief review of immature habitats of European species

González M., López S., Mullens B.A., Baldet T., Goldarazena A.. 2013. Veterinary Parasitology, 191 (1-2) : p. 81-93.

DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2012.08.025

Culicoides species (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) belonging to the Obsoletus and Pulicaris groups are considered to be the main vectors of bluetongue virus (BTV) in non Mediterranean Europe. Selected terrestrial microhabitats (n = 17) on a farm in northern Spain were sampled repeatedly over a year-long period and characterized for use by Culicoides species for immature development. Concurrent use of CDC light traps showed the presence of 37 species and 66,575 specimens of adult Culicoides. A total of 28 species and 11,396 individuals emerged from laboratory-maintained soil samples. Culicoides obsoletus and Culicoides scoticus (pooled as Obsoletus complex) were particularly abundant (comprising 58.6% and 74.5% of the total collections in light traps and emergence traps respectively). Potential key vectors of animal viruses (such as BTV) were found in two main terrestrial types of microhabitats. In the case of C. obsoletus, different types of manure (old and composted manure, manure mixed with organic matter, and fresh manure) produced most of the specimens. In contrast, larvae of C. scoticus and Culicoides lupicaris were associated with soil substantially comprised of rotting leaf litter that included the parasitic plant Lathraea clandestina. Several species, Culicoides festivipennis, Culicoides punctatus and Culicoides brunnicans, were very common in mud at pond margins. Indeed, pond microhabitats and runoff below barn rooflines supported the greatest species richness. In the pond habitat, 49.4% of Culicoides specimens emerged from mud at the water edge, as opposed to 50 cm above (32.4%) and 1 meter above waterline (18%). Similar species richness, but statistically significant differences in abundance, were observed among the four pond microhabitats. Overall, the majority of the specimens were found in the upper layer (0-3 cm), except in manure, where they preferred deeper layers (>6 cm). Maximum peaks of abundance occurred in both light traps and soil samples in summer months, whereas increased captures in autumn were noticed only in light traps. Both trapping systems failed to collect adult Culicoides midges in the coldest months of December, January and February. The literature on immature habitats of species suspected in BTV transmission in Europe, the Pulicaris group and particularly the Obsoletus group, is briefly reviewed.

Mots-clés : culicoides; biotope; larve; fumier; fièvre catarrhale du mouton; région méditerranéenne; espagne; culicoides scotilus; culicoides obseletus; culicoides pulicaris; culicoides lupicaris

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