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High susceptibility of the laboratory-reared biting midges Culicoides nubeculosus to Haemoproteus infections, with review on Culicoides species that transmit avian haemoproteids

  • Dovilė Bukauskaitė (a1), Tatjana A. Iezhova (a1), Mikas Ilgūnas (a1) and Gediminas Valkiūnas (a1)


Haemosporidian parasites belonging to Haemoproteus cause avian diseases, however, vectors remain unidentified for the majority of described species. We used the laboratory-reared biting midges Culicoides nubeculosus to determine if the sporogonic development of three widespread Haemoproteus parasites completes in this insect. The midges were reared and fed on one common blackbird, white wagtail and thrush nightingale naturally infected with Haemoproteus minutus, Haemoproteus motacillae and Haemoproteus attenuatus, respectively. The engorged females were dissected in order to follow their sporogonic development. Microscopic examination was used to identify sporogonic stages. Bayesian phylogeny based on partial cytochrome b gene was constructed in order to determine phylogenetic relationships among Culicoides species-transmitted haemoproteids. All three parasites completed sporogony. Phylogenetic analysis placed Culicoides species transmitted haemoproteids in one well-supported clade, proving that such analysis readily indicates groups of dipteran insects transmitting avian haemoproteids. Available data show that 11 species of Culicoides have been proved to support complete sporogony of 18 species of avian haemoproteids. The majority of Culicoides species can act as vectors for many Haemoproteus parasites, indicating the low specificity of these parasites to biting midges, whose are globally distributed. This calls for control of haemoproteid infections during geographical translocation of infected birds.


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Author for correspondence: Dovilė Bukauskaitė, E-mail:


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High susceptibility of the laboratory-reared biting midges Culicoides nubeculosus to Haemoproteus infections, with review on Culicoides species that transmit avian haemoproteids

  • Dovilė Bukauskaitė (a1), Tatjana A. Iezhova (a1), Mikas Ilgūnas (a1) and Gediminas Valkiūnas (a1)


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