Orientation of Culex mosquitoes to carbon dioxide-baited traps: flight manoeuvres and trapping efficiency

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Females of Culex quinquefasciatus Say and Culex tarsalis Coquillet (Diptera: Culicidae) in the host-seeking stage were released and video recorded in three dimensions in a large field wind tunnel as they flew to four kinds of CO2-baited mosquito traps. The trapping efficiency (number of mosquitoes approaching compared to the number caught) was determined for each trap type. The Encephalitis Virus Surveillance (EVS), Mosquito Magnet Freedom (MMF) and Mosquito Magnet Liberty (MML) traps captured only 13–16% of approaching Cx. quinquefasciatus females, whereas the Mosquito Magnet-X (MMX) trap captured 58%. Similar results were obtained for Cx. tarsalis. Orientation behaviour and flight parameters of mosquitoes approaching the four traps were compared. Mosquitoes spent the most time orienting to the EVS trap. Flight speed decreased as mosquitoes entered the vicinity of each trap and a large portion of their time was spent within 30 cm downwind of the traps. Flights became highly tortuous downwind of the poorly performing traps and just upwind of the MMX trap. Differences between traps and possible explanations for the superior performance of the MMX trap are considered.

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