Ochlerotatus triseriatus (Say), the primary vector of La Crosse virus (LAC), develops in a variety of natural and artificial aquatic containers where it often co-occurs with larvae of other mosquito species. We conducted a field study at two woodlots (South Farms and Trelease Woods) in Urbana, IL, to examine how container type influences vector abundance, body size, and susceptibility to LAC. Mosquito pupae were collected from tree holes, plastic bins, and waste tires, and eclosing adults were identified to species morphologically. Oc. triseriatus and Ochlerotatus japonicus (Theobald) females were orally challenged with LAC and midgut infection rate, disseminated infection rate, and body titer were determined by reverse-transcriptase real-time PCR. Oc. triseriatus was the dominant species collected in tree holes while Oc. japonicus and Culex restuans (Theobald) were mostly dominant in artificial containers. Female Oc. triseriatus and Oc. japonicus collected from plastic bins were significantly larger than those collected from tree holes or waste tires. Oc. japonicus females from South Farms were also significantly larger than those from Trelease Woods. Oc. triseriatus females collected from plastic bins and waste tires were significantly more susceptible to LAC infection relative to females collected from tree holes. In addition, Oc. triseriatus females from waste tires had significantly higher LAC titer relative to Oc. triseriatus from tree holes. For each container type and study site, wing length was not correlated to infection or dissemination rates. These findings suggest that the container type in which Oc.triseriatus develop may contribute to the spatial and temporal dynamics of LAC transmission.
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Vol. 52 • No. 3