Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2021

Department

Biological Sciences

School

Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences

Abstract

Urban ecosystems are a patchwork of habitats that host a broad diversity of animal species. Insects comprise a large portion of urban biodiversity which includes many pest species, including those that transmit pathogens. Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) inhabit urban environments and rely on sympatric vertebrate species to complete their life cycles, and in this process transmit pathogens to animals and humans. Given that mosquitoes feed upon vertebrates, they can also act as efficient samplers that facilitate detection of vertebrate species that utilize urban ecosystems. In this study, we analyzed DNA extracted from mosquito blood meals collected temporally in multiple neighborhoods of the San Juan Metropolitan Area, Puerto Rico to evaluate the presence of vertebrate fauna. DNA was collected from 604 individual mosquitoes that represented two common urban species, Culex quinquefasciatus (n = 586) and Aedes aegypti (n = 18). Culex quinquefasciatus fed on 17 avian taxa (81.2% of blood meals), seven mammalian taxa (17.9%), and one reptilian taxon (0.85%). Domestic chickens dominated these blood meals both temporally and spatially, and no statistically significant shift from birds to mammals was detected. Aedes aegypti blood meals were from a less diverse group, with two avian taxa (11.1%) and three mammalian taxa (88.9%) identified. The blood meals we identified provided a snapshot of the vertebrate community in the San Juan Metropolitan Area and have potential implications for vector-borne pathogen transmission.

Publication Title

Insects

Volume

12

Issue

2

First Page

1

Last Page

21

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