Rhodnius ecuadoriensis is the second most important vector of Chagas Disease (CD) in Ecuador. The objective of this study was to describe (and compare) the life cycle, the feeding and defecation patterns under laboratory conditions of two populations of this specie [from the provinces of Manabí (Coastal region) and Loja (Andean region)]. Egg-to-adult (n = 57) development took an average of 189.9 +/- 20 (Manabí) and 181.3 +/- 6.4 days (Loja). Mortality rates were high among Lojan nymphs. Pre-feeding time (from contact with host to feeding initiation) ranged from 4 min 42 s [nymph I (NI)] to 8 min 30 s (male); feeding time ranged from 14 min 45 s (NI)-28 min 25 s (male) (Manabí) and from 15 min 25 s (NI)-28 min 57 s (nymph V) (Loja). The amount of blood ingested increased significantly with instar and was larger for Manabí specimens (p < 0.001). Defecation while feeding was observed in Manabí specimens from stage nymph III and in Lojan bugs from stage nymph IV. There was a gradual, age-related increase in the frequency of this behaviour in both populations. Our results suggest that R. ecuadoriensis has the bionomic traits of an efficient vector of Trypanosoma cruzi. Together with previous data on the capacity of this species to infest rural households, these results indicate that control of synanthropic R. ecuadoriensis populations in the coastal and Andean regions may have a significant impact for CD control in Ecuador and Northern Peru.
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