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Dynamics of feeding and defecation behavior of Triatoma infestans hybrids


Triatoma platensis is occasionally found coexisting with Triatoma infestans in chicken coops in Argentina. Some authors have reported the presence of hybrid specimens of both species in chicken coops and other peridomestic habitats. Given the coexistence of T. infestans with T. platensis and the possibility of generating fertile hybrids, it is important to evaluate the vectorial competence of these hybrids. The objective of this study was to record the dynamics of feeding-defecation behavior in fifth-stage nymphs and adults of hybrids between both species and to compare it with T. platensis and T. infestans. Three experimental groups were formed separated by stage and sex: Hybrid group, T. infestans group, and T. platensis group. During feeding, the following variables were recorded for each group: (i) blood meal size, (ii) feeding time, (iii) number of defecations during feeding, and (iv) number of defecations at 10 and 30 min after feeding. The results indicate that adults and fifth-instar nymphs of hybrids have a feeding and defecation behavior similar to T. infestans: they achieve feeding in a short time and first defecation occurs during or just after feeding. Nevertheless, hybrid’s ingestion of blood occurs at higher velocity and they require higher blood intake to provoke early defecations. Considering the blood ingestion velocity, the amount of blood ingested, and the short time required for the production of the first defecation, the results of this study suggest that hybrid can be a competent Trypanosoma cruzi vector.

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We thank technician Emilia Seccacini, the main professional of National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET), for her collaboration in the laboratory activities. We also thank the Centro de Referencia de Vectores from the Servicio Nacional de Chagas (CeReVe-SNCh, Santa Maria de Punilla, Córdoba Argentina) for the provision of the insects for experimentation.


This work was supported by a grant given by the National University of Córdoba through the Secretary of Science and Technique (SECyT) to LBC.

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A.G.L. designed the experiments, performed the experiments, analyzed the data, and drafted the manuscript. M.C. and L.B.C. analyzed the data and collaborated in the drafting of the manuscript. E.B.O. reviewed the manuscript. All authors were involved in reviewing and editing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ana G. López.

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López, A.G., Cardozo, M., Oscherov, E.B. et al. Dynamics of feeding and defecation behavior of Triatoma infestans hybrids. Parasitol Res 119, 2775–2781 (2020).

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  • Triatoma infestans
  • Triatoma platensis
  • Hybrid
  • Blood ingestion
  • Defecation behavior