Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2017 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Mosquito blood meal hosts reflect a complex urban landscape.
LaDeau, Shannon
Co-Authors: Heather Goodman, Dina Fonseca, Andrea Egizi, Paul Leisnham

Abstract: Temperate urban landscapes support persistent and growing populations of Culex and Aedes mosquito vectors. Large urban mosquito populations can represent a significant risk for transmission of emergent arboviral infections in humans, as demonstrated by the dengue incidence in Tokyo, Japan. However, even large mosquito populations are only a risk to the animals they bite. The purpose of this study was to identify and evaluate the spatial patterns of host-use in a complex, temperate city. Mosquito blood meals were collected from urban Aedes and Culex species across socio-economically distinct neighborhoods in Baltimore, MD (USA). The brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) was the most frequently detected blood meal source in Aedes species and the second most frequent in Culex. Human biting was evident in both Aedes and Culex species. The proportion of human blood meals detected from Ae albopictus samples, although not Ae j japonicus or Culex, varied significantly with neighborhood socio-economic status and was greatest (at 50%) in the blocks categorized as having income above the city median. However, the total numbers ofhuman bites detected was greatest from lower income blocks where Ae albopictus was more abundant. This study highlights fine-scale variation in host-use by medically important mosquito vectors, and specifically investigates blood meal composition at spatial scales relevant to urban mosquito dispersal. Further, the work emphasizes the importance of neighborhood socio-economic status and physical condition in shaping both the relative abundance of vectors and local affinity for avian, mammalian and especially, human blood meals.