Is Rhodnius nasutus (Hemiptera; Reduviidae) changing its habitat as a consequence of human activity?
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Rhodnius nasutus, a triatomine species autochthonous in the Brazilian Northeast, is primarily associated with the Copernicia prunifera palm tree (Carnauba). For the first time, the colonization of this triatomine in another tree species is reported. To investigate the existence of an infected triatomine focus located in a periurban area of the county of Jaguaruana, Ceará, situated in the Brazilian Northeast, where soil is greatly altered and natural vegetation scarce, an entomological survey was performed. During 2 consecutive days in August 2006 and 4 in December 2006, with the aid of live-bait traps, nine C. prunifera palms and seven Licania rigida trees (Oiticica), among other typical trees of the region, were sampled. In April 2007, 13 L. rigida trees and five C. prunifera palm trees were newly sampled. Considering the three investigation periods, a total of 20 R. nasutus specimens in C. prunifera and 52 in L. rigida were captured, in all developmental stages, 12.5 and 20.7%, respectively, harboring T. cruzi-like protozoa. The authors suggest that environmental damages are facilitating the ability of this species to colonize other trees besides palms.
KeywordsRice Paddy Bromeliad Spinosa Palm Tree Entomological Survey
Thanks go To Claudio Lazzari, François Noireau and Ana M. Jansen, for reviewing the manuscript, to Mitchell R. Lishon for English revision, and to Marcos Eduardo Melo for his invaluable assistance with the field work. This research received financial support from the Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Faperj). We thank the Secretary of Health of the State of Ceará and the City Hall of Jaguaruana, Ceará, for the technical assistance, transportation, and physical facilities.
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