The insect Rhodnius prolixus is responsible for the transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi, which is the etiological agent of Chagas disease in areas of Central and South America. Besides this, it can be infected by other trypanosomes such as Trypanosoma rangeli. The effects of these parasites on vectors are poorly understood and are often controversial so here we focussed on possible negative effects of these parasites on the reproductive performance of R. prolixus, specifically comparing infected and uninfected couples. While T. cruzi infection did not delay pre-oviposition time of infected couples at either temperature tested (25 and 30°C) it did, at 25°C, increase the e-value in the second reproductive cycle, as well as hatching rates. Meanwhile, at 30°C, T. cruzi infection decreased the e-value of insects during the first cycle and also the fertility of older insects. When couples were instead infected with T. rangeli, pre-oviposition time was delayed, while reductions in the e-value and hatching rate were observed in the second and third cycles. We conclude that both T. cruzi and T. rangeli can impair reproductive performance of R. prolixus, although for T. cruzi, this is dependent on rearing temperature and insect age. We discuss these reproductive costs in terms of potential consequences on triatomine behavior and survival.
Fellet, M. R., Lorenzo, M. G., Elliot, S. L., Carrasco, D., & Guarneri, A. A. (2014). Effects of infection by Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma rangeli on the reproductive performance of the vector Rhodnius prolixus. PLoS ONE, 9(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0105255