Evaluating sampling method bias in Culex tarsalis and Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) bloodmeal identification studies

Tara C. Thiemann, William Reisen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Determining the bloodmeal hosts of the Culex vectors of encephalitis viruses such as West Nile virus is essential for understanding the role of these mosquitoes in enzootic and epidemic transmission. Although molecular techniques have increased our knowledge of blood feeding patterns by allowing host identification to the species level, few studies have focused on the role that sampling methods may play in determining these patterns. In the current study, we identified 644 bloodmeals from Culex tarsalis Coquillett and Culex quinquefasciatus Say females collected in CO2 traps (dry ice-baited Center for Disease Control traps), in gravid traps, and aspirated from resting sites. There was no significant difference in the bloodmeal host apportionment in sampling methods such as gravid traps and resting collections that collected fully engorged females. However, CO2 traps that collected partially fed females had a significantly different apportionment of hosts than either gravid or resting collections. Bloodied females from CO2 traps had either fed on only a small subset of available host species or were biased toward more mammalian and fewer nonpasserine avian feeds than females from other collections. Because both full and partial bloodmeals can contribute to viral transmission, obtaining Culex bloodmeal collections from multiple sampling methods may be important to fully interpret the role of these mosquitoes as maintenance and/or bridge vectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • bloodfeeding
  • Culex
  • mosquito collection
  • sampling bias

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • veterinary(all)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology


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