Variation in adult longevity of Culex pipiens f. pipiens, vector of the West Nile Virus
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The common house mosquito, Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae), which is considered the primary bridge vector of West Nile Virus (WNV) to humans, is a wide spread insect pest with medical importance and consists of two distinct bioforms, Cx. pipiens f. pipiens and Cx. pipiens f. molestus. Here, we consider the adult lifespan of male and female Cx. pipiens f. pipiens under controlled conditions at five constant temperature regimes (15, 20, 25, 27.5, and 30 °C). Our results show that adult longevity was affected by temperature, as it significantly decreased with increase in temperature. At the highest tested temperature, mean adult longevity did not exceed 12 days for both sexes and thus makes impossible the risk of WNV transmission. On the other hand at the lowest temperature, longevity was extremely high with some individuals surviving up to 129 and 132 days, males and females, respectively, and thus enable them to function as potential vectors of WNV for a prolonged period of time. As far as sex is concerned, adult females displayed a 1.2–1.4-fold longer longevity compared to the male ones. However, this difference was significant only at the lowest and highest tested temperature regime. This information is useful in determining the critical temperatures which may affect the distribution of Cx. pipiens and consequently the risk of WNV transmission. Moreover, the effect of environmental temperature should be considered when evaluating the abundance of these species.
KeywordsTemperature Sex Adult longevity Culex pipiens complex West Nile virus
The authors thank Charoula Christopoulou for laboratory assistance. This work was partially funded by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Research Committee.
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