Thermal preferences and limits of triatoma brasiliensis in its natural environment - Field observations while host searching

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Abstract

The goal of this work was to explore the thermal relationship between foraging Triatoma brasiliensis and its natural habitat during the hottest season in the state of Ceará, Brazil. The thermal profiles were determined using infrared analysis. Although the daily temperature of rock surfaces varied in a wide range, T. brasiliensis selected to walk through areas with temperatures between 31.7-40.5ºC. The temperature of T. brasiliensis body surface ranged from 32.8-34.4ºC, being higher in legs than the abdomen. A strong relationship was found between the temperature of the insect and the temperature of rock crevices where they were hidden (r: 0.96, p < 0.05). The species was ac- tive at full sunlight being a clear example of how the light-dark rhythm may be altered, even under predation risk. Our results strongly suggest a thermal borderline for T. brasiliensis foraging activity near 40ºC. The simultaneous determination of insect body and rock temperatures here presented are the only obtained in natural habitats for this or other triatomines.

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Catalá, S., Bezerra, C. M., & Diotaiuti, L. (2015). Thermal preferences and limits of triatoma brasiliensis in its natural environment - Field observations while host searching. Memorias Do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 110(6), 793–796. https://doi.org/10.1590/0074-02760150234

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