In recent years, concerns about Chagas disease in the United States have increased. Triatomine bug (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) populations are the vectors of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi Chagas (Trypanosomatida: Trypanosomatidae), which causes Chagas disease, although the route of transmission is considered inefficient in United States. However, more studies on triatomine feeding and defecation behavior are needed. In this study, six related biological parameters from two populations of Triatoma protracta protracta (Uhler) and T. p. woodi (Uhler) from Mexican locations near the U.S. border were evaluated. The four population life cycles were less than 6 mo (161-171 d), with 9-10 blood meals needed to molt. Mortality rates were similar (31-38%) among the four populations. Triatoma p. woodi from Hidalgo, Coahuila was the most aggressive one. Feeding times were over 10 min, increasing with instar in all populations. Defecation behaviors varied among populations. High percentages of male and female fourth- and fifth-instar nymphs of T. p. protracta from Imuris and both populations of T. p. woodi defecated immediately after or <1 min of feeding. Lower percentages were observed for T. p. protracta from Jacumé. Because most parameters were similar among the four populations, independent of their subspecies and their geographic origin, we considered that T. p. protracta and T. p. woodi are efficient vectors of T. cruzi. In contrast, defecation patterns were noticeably different among some of the four triatomine populations studied. Our results highlight the importance of studying the biological parameters of local triatomine populations. They also contribute to increasing the knowledge of North American triatomine behavior and defecation patterns.
- Chagas disease
- North America