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1 August 2022 Consumption of endemic arbovirus mosquito vectors by bats in the southeastern United States
Morgan J. Hughes, Elizabeth C. Braun de Torrez, Eva A. Buckner, Holly K. Ober
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Abstract

Mosquitoes affect human health and well-being globally through their roles as disease-causing pathogen vectors. Utilizing genetic techniques, we conducted a large-scale dietary study of three bat species common to the southeastern U.S.A., Lasiurus seminolus (Seminole bat), Nycticeius humeralis (evening bat), and Myotis austroriparius (southeastern myotis). Through next-generation sequencing of a 180 bp portion of cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) of mitochondrial DNA from 180 bat guano samples, we documented consumption of 17 species of mosquitoes by bats, including six endemic arbovirus vectors. Culex quinquefasciatus, Culex coronator, Culiseta melanura, Culex salinarius, Culex erraticus, and Coquillettidia perturbans were consumed by 51.3%, 43.7%, 27.2%, 22.8%, 18.0%, and 12.7% of bats sampled, respectively. Consumption of two of these mosquito species was explained by spatial variables reflecting the prevalence of mosquito larval habitat, five were explained by bat traits (bat mass, bat species), and two were explained by these factors plus temporal variables (maximum daily temperature, time since sunset, date), making it challenging to offer specific guidance on how best to promote bats as a means of reducing arbovirus vector species. Our results show that common bat species of the southeastern U.S.A. consume endemic, but not exotic, arbovirus mosquito vectors. Future studies are needed to understand the impact of bat consumption on mosquito numbers and public health.

Morgan J. Hughes, Elizabeth C. Braun de Torrez, Eva A. Buckner, and Holly K. Ober "Consumption of endemic arbovirus mosquito vectors by bats in the southeastern United States," Journal of Vector Ecology 47(2), 153-165, (1 August 2022). https://doi.org/10.52707/1081-1710-47.2.153
Received: 6 December 2021; Accepted: 28 April 2022; Published: 1 August 2022
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KEYWORDS
arbovirus vector
bats
diet
land use
mosquitoes
public health
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