Molecular identification of blood meals in mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicidae) in urban and forested habitats in southern Brazil

Camila Silva Santos*, Marcio Roberto Pie, Tatiana Carneiro da Rocha, Mario Antonio Navarro-Silva

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The study of host associations of mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicidae) provides valuable information to assist in our understanding of a variety of related issues, from their life-history to the entomological surveillance of pathogens. In this study, we identified and characterized mosquito blood meals from both urban and forested areas in the city of Paranaguá, state of Paraná, Brazil, by analyzing the amplification of host DNA ingested by mosquitoes under different storage conditions and digestion levels. Host DNA preservation was evaluated in fresh blood meals according to storage duration (30 to 180 days) and temperature (-20C / -80C) and, in digested blood, according the degree of digestion classified on the Sella scale. Molecular analysis of blood meals was based on DNA extraction and amplification of a fragment of the mitochondrial COI gene. We determined that, up to180 days of storage, the evaluated temperatures did not influence the preservation of fresh blood meals DNA, whereas the amplification success was increasingly reduced over the course of the digestion process. The species Anopheles cruzii, Aedes fluviatilis, Aedes scapularis, Psorophora ferox, Culex quinquefasciatus, Culex mollis, and Culex intrincatus, together with specimens representing four subgenera and one genus of Culicidae [Ae. (Ochlerotatus), Cx. (Culex), Cx. (Melanoconion), Cx. (Microculex), and Limatus, respectively] had their blood meals identified. Their diverse host use was evidenced by the identification of 19 species of vertebrate host, namely two amphibians, three mammals and 14 birds. Birds were the most commonly identified host in blood meals. These results not only show the diversity of mosquito hosts, but also underscore the challenges involved in monitoring arboviruses of public health importance, given potential combinations of host use for each mosquito species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0212517
JournalPLoS One
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2019


  • Mosquitoes


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