Molecular identification of host feeding patterns of snow-melt mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae): Potential implications for the transmission ecology of Jamestown Canyon virus

  • Murdock C
  • Olival K
  • Perkins S
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We collected blood-fed, snow-melt mosquitoes (Culicidae: Culiseta and Aedes)to describe the feeding patterns of potential mosquito vectors of Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV, Bunyaviridae: Orthobunyavirus). JCV is an arthropod-borne, zoonotic virus with deer as the primary amplifying host in western alpine ecosystems. We collected mosquitoes from natural resting areas, Þber pots, and carbon-dioxide baited miniature light traps in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in 2007. We conducted two polymerase chain reactions to amplify and sequence vertebrate DNA extracted from blood-fed mosquitoes, which yielded comparable, but not identical, results. Mammal-speciÞc primers found mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus)andelk(Cervus elaphus canadensis)asthesourceof all bloodmeals. To determine if unampliÞed bloodmeals were from nonmammalian sources,wescreened all samples with conserved vertebrate primers, which conÞrmed the initial polymerase chain reaction results,butalsofoundporcupine(Erethizondorsatum)andhuman(Homosapiens)asadditionalbloodmeal sources.Weconsistently found thatmuledeerwerethe primary hosts for mosquitoes in this system. These results suggest that snow-melt mosquitoes, in particular A. cataphylla,maybeimportantvectorsinwestern JCV alpine systems and may also act as a bridge vector for JCV from cervid virus reservoirs to humans.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Jamestown Canyon virus
  • bloodmeal
  • deer
  • elk
  • feeding preference

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  • C. C. Murdock

  • Kevin J. Olival

  • Susan L. Perkins

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