Ascogregarina taiwanensis as a Pathogen of Aedes aegypti and Its Association with the Spread of Aedes albopictus in the Southern United States
Monovich, Edward Alexander
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Recently, Aedes albopictus has been incriminated as a vector in transmission of the rarest mosquito-borne arboviral encephalitides Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which has a case-fatality rate of approximately 30%. This, coupled with the rapid distribution of A e. albopictus throughout the Eastern United States, makes the ecology of this mosquito a crucial topic for study in the field of medical entomology. This experiment supports the hypothesis that Ascogregarina taiwanensis, a species-specific parasite of A e. albopictus, causes mortality when infecting Aedes aegypti. This mortality helps explain the rapid spread of Ae. albopictus and the decline of its competitor Ae. aegypti, in sympatric locations. A e. albopictus and Ae. aegypti were given three treatments: A. taiwanensis, A. culicis, and no parasites. All strains of mosquito and parasite used originated from Indian River County, Florida. Treatments were periormed at two temperatures: 21º C, 80% RH and 30º C, 80% RH. Infection rate was determined through parasite count in dissected larval midguts. Ae. aegypti treated with A. taiwanensis showed higher mortality at both temperatures than Ae. albopictus treated with A. taiwanensis. In the cool insectary, Ae. aegypti treated with A. culicis showed higher mortality than the same infection in the cool insectary and Ae. albopictus infected with A. culicis at both temperatures.