Ecological preferences of the putative West Nile virus vector Uranotaenia unguiculata mosquito with description of an original larval habitat

Kornélia Kurucz, Gábor Kemenesi, Brigitta Zana, Safia Zeghbib, Miklós Oldal, F. Jakab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The mosquito species Uranotaenia unguiculata has recently been described as a potential vector for a novel genetic lineage of West Nile virus (WNV), but our knowledge about the distribution and ecology of this mosquito is still rudimentary. Here, we summarize the literature regarding the ecology and behavior of mosquito Ur. unguiculata, and we provided novel data on the species breeding habit by DNA barcoding mosquito larvae from a trash deposit. Based on literature survey, Ur. unguiculata is a widespread species, reported from 25 different countries throughout the Mediterranean region, including Europe, southwest Asia and the Middle East. The immature mosquitoes occur mainly in floodplain forests, marshes, as well as in human-related habitats like suburban or rural areas around cities. The favoured larval breeding sites of Ur. unguiculata is similar to other mosquito species, namely ground waters with vegetation, mainly in shaded localities, however, its breeding in containers in a trash deposit is reported here for the first time. Ur. unguiculata females feed mainly on amphibians and reptiles, less often on birds and mammals such as domestic animals, and on very rare occasions they bite humans as well. Since several WNV strains have been described in Ur. unguiculata wild caught mosquitoes from multiple geographic locations, its role in the enzootic cycle of West Nile virus is highly presumable. Revealing the ecological background of U. unguiculata can possibly assist the development of laboratory strains, which could facilitate further studies, such as vector competence experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalNorth-Western Journal of Zoology
Volume13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017

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Uranotaenia
West Nile virus
Culicidae
habitats
vector competence
ecology
suburban areas
DNA barcoding
breeding
Middle East
Mediterranean region
domestic animals
rural areas
breeding sites
floodplains
reptiles
marshes
containers
amphibians
insect larvae

Keywords

  • Breeding habit
  • Culicidae
  • Host preferences
  • Suburban habitat
  • Summary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Ecological preferences of the putative West Nile virus vector Uranotaenia unguiculata mosquito with description of an original larval habitat. / Kurucz, Kornélia; Kemenesi, Gábor; Zana, Brigitta; Zeghbib, Safia; Oldal, Miklós; Jakab, F.

In: North-Western Journal of Zoology, Vol. 13, No. 2, 01.12.2017, p. 193-199.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kurucz, Kornélia ; Kemenesi, Gábor ; Zana, Brigitta ; Zeghbib, Safia ; Oldal, Miklós ; Jakab, F. / Ecological preferences of the putative West Nile virus vector Uranotaenia unguiculata mosquito with description of an original larval habitat. In: North-Western Journal of Zoology. 2017 ; Vol. 13, No. 2. pp. 193-199.
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