• View in gallery
    Figure 1.

    Box plots representing medians and interquartile intervals of the host-contacting time for different instar stages of Rhodnius nasutus, Ceará, Brazil.

  • View in gallery
    Figure 2.

    Box plots representing medians and interquartile intervals of the feeding time for different instars of Rhodnius nasutus, Ceará, Brazil. *, **, and *** Significant differences between groups (P < 0.05, by Kruskal-Wallis test).

  • View in gallery
    Figure 3.

    Box plots representing medians and interquartile intervals of the index feeding time/host-contacting time for different instars of Rhodnius nasutus, Ceará, Brazil.

  • 1

    Dias JC, Dias RB, 1979. Aspectos sociais, econômicos e culturais da doença de Chagas. Cienc Cult 31 :105–117.

  • 2

    Lent H, Wygodzisnky P, 1979. Revision of the Triatominae (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) and their significance as vectors of Chagas’ disease. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 163 :123–520.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3

    Carcavallo UR, Rodríguez ME, Salvatella R, Curto de Casas SI, Sherlock IS, Galvão C, Rocha DS, Girón IG, Arocha MA, Martinez A, Da Rosa JA, Canale DM, Farr TH, Barata JM, 1999. Habitats and related fauna. Carcavallo UR, Girón IG, Jurbeg J, Lent H, eds. Atlas of Chagas Disease Vectors in the Americas. Volume II. Rio de Janeiro: Editora FIOCRUZ, 561–600.

  • 4

    Romaña CA, Pizzarro JC, Rodas E, Guilbert E, 1999. Palm trees as ecological indicator of risk areas for Chagas disease. Trop Med Hyg 93 :594–595.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5

    Carcavallo RU, Curto de Casas SI, Sherlock IA, Galíndez-Girón I, Jurberg J, Galvão C, Mena Segura CA, 1999. Geographical distribution and alti-latitudinal dispersion. Carcavallo UR, Girón IG, Jurbeg J, Lent H, eds. Atlas of Chagas Disease Vectors in the Americas. Volume III. Editora Rio de Janeiro: FIOCRUZ, 747–792.

  • 6

    Fé NF, França MS, Carvalho-Costa FA, 2009. Reassessing the entomological investigation around the first autochthonous case of Chagas disease in western Brazilian Amazon. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 104 :121–123.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7

    Silveira AC, Feitosa VR, Borges R, 1984. Distribuição de triatomíneos domiciliados no período 1975/1983 no Brasil. Rev Bras Malariol Doencas Trop 36 :15–312.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8

    Alencar JE, 1987. História Natural da Doença de Chagas no Estado do Ceará. Ceará, Brazil: Imprensa Universidade da UFC.

  • 9

    Dias FB, Diotaiuti L, Romanha AJ, Bezerra CM, Machado EM, 2007. First report on the occurrence of Trypanosoma rangeli Tejera, 1920 in the state of Ceará, Brazil, in naturally infected triatomine Rhodnius nasutus Stal, 1859 (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae). Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 102 :643–645.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10

    Lima MM, Coutinho CF, Gomes TF, Oliveira TG, Duarte R, Boia MN, Borges-Pereira J, Sarquis O, 2008. Risk presented by Copernicia prunifera palm trees in the Rhodnius nasutus distribution in a Chagas disease-endemic area of the Brazilian northeast. Am J Trop Med Hyg 79 :750–754.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11

    Dias JC, Machado EM, Fernandes AL, Vinhaes MC, 2000. Esboço geral e perspectiva da doença de Chagas no Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 16 :13–34.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12

    Lima MM, Sarquis O, 2008. Is Rhodnius nasutus (Hemiptera; Reduviidae) changing it habitat as a consequence of human activities? Parasitol Res 102 :797–800.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13

    Sarquis O, MacCord JR, Gomes TF, Cabello PH, Pereira JB, Lima MM, 2004. Epidemiology of Chagas disease in Jaguaruana, Ceará, Brazil. I. Presence of triatomines and index of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in four localities of a rural area. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 99 :263–270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14

    Pacheco RS, Brito C, Sarquis O, Pires MQ, Pereira JB, Lima MM, 2005. Genetic heterogeneity in sylvatic Trypanosoma cruzi strains from naturally infected triatomines vectors in Northeastern Brazil: epidemiological implications. Biochem Genet 43 :519–530.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15

    Sarquis O, Teixeira RS, Oliveira TG, MacCord JR, Cabelo PH, Borges-Pereira J, Lima MM, 2006. Aspects of peridomiciliar ecotopes in rural areas of northeastern Brazil associated to triatomine (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) infestation, vectors of Chagas disease. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 101 :143–147.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16

    Brito CMM, Lima MM, Sarquis O, Pires MQ, Coutinho CF, Duarte R, Pacheco RS, 2008. Genetic polymorphism in Trypanosoma cruzi I isolated from Brazilian northeast triatomines revealed by low-stringency single specific primerpolymerase chain reaction. Parasitol Res 103 :1111–1117.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17

    Sarquis O, 2003. Aspectos Epidemiológicos da Doença de Chagas na Zona Rural de Jaguaruana, Ceará, Brasil. PhD thesis. FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro.

  • 18

    Galvão C, Rocha DS, Cunha V, Jurberg J, Carcavallo RU, 2001. Tempo de alimentação e defecação das ninfas de Triatoma melanosoma Martínez, Olmedo & Carcavallo, 1987 (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) em diferentes condições de temperatura e umidade. Rev Bras Zool 18 :233–242.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19

    Piesman J, Sherlock IA, 1983. Factors controlling the volume produced by triatominae vectors of Chagas disease. Acta Trop 40 :351–358.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20

    Zárate LG, López GM, Ozuna MC, Santiago GG, Zárate RJ, 1984. The biology and behavior of Triatoma barberi (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in Mexico. IV—Feeding and defecation patterns. J Med Entomol 21 :548–560.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21

    MacCord JR, Jurberg P, Lima MM, 1983. Marcação individual de triatomíneos para estudos comportamentais e ecológicos. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 78 :473–476.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22

    Zeledón R, Alvarado R, Jirón LF, 1977. Observations on the feeding and defecation patterns of three triatomine species (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Acta Trop 34 :65–77.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 23

    Rocha DS, Galvão C, Jurberg J, 1994. Biologia do Rhodnius pictipes Stal, 1872 em condições de laboratório (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae). Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 89 :265–270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24

    Aldana E, Lizano E, Rodriguez M, Valderrama A, 2001. Alimentación y defecación en triatominos del género Rhodnius (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) alimentados con sangre humana. Rev Biol Trop 49 :693–695.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25

    Hecht MM, Bussacos AC, Lozzi SP, Santana JM, Teixeira ARL, 2006. Triatoma infestans chooses to feed upon immune prey. Am J Trop Med Hyg 75 :893–900.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26

    Rabinovich JE, Leal JA, Feliciangeli de Pinero D, 1979. Domiciliary biting frequency and blood ingestion of the Chagas’ disease vector Rhodnius prolixus Stål (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), in Venezuela. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 73 :272–283.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27

    Zeledón R, Rabinovich JE, 1981. Chagas disease: an ecological appraisal with special emphasis on its insect vectors. Annu Rev Entomol 26 :101–133.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28

    Arévalo A, Carranza JC, Guhl F, Clavijo JA, Vallejo GA, 2007. Comparación de los patrones de alimentación y defecación de Rhodnius colombiensis y Rhodnius prolixus (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) en condiciones de laboratorio. Biomedica (Bogota) 27 :101–109.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29

    Braga MV, Lima MM, 1999. Feeding and defecation patterns of nymphs of Triatoma rubrofasciata (De Geer, 1773) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), and its potential role as vector for Trypanosoma cruzi. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 94 :127–129.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 30

    Maddrell SH, 1964. Excretion in the blood-sucking bug, Rhodnius prolixus Stal. II. The normal course of diuresis and the effect of temperature. J Exp Biol 41 :163–176.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 31

    Krinsky WL, 1985. Feeding, molting, and egg production in Rhodnius prolixus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) fed repeatedly on the same Swiss mouse hosts. J Med Entomol 22 :670–674.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 32

    Rocha DS, Santos CM, Cunha V, Jurberg J, Galvão C, 2004. Ciclo biológico em laboratório de Rhodnius brethesi Matta, 1919 (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae), potencial vetor silvestre da doença de Chagas na Amazônia. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 99 :591–595.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 33

    Dias E, 1956. Observações sobre eliminação de dejeções e tempo de sucção em alguns triatomíneos sul americanos. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 54 :115–124.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 34

    Nattero J, Crocco LB, Rodríguez CS, 2002. Feeding and defecation behaviour of Triatoma patagonica (Del Ponte, 1929) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 97 :1063–1065.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 35

    Bar ME, Milano AM, Damborsky MP, Oscherov EB, Avalos G, 2003. Patrones de alimentación y de defecación de Triatoma rubrovaria (Heteroptera: Reduviidae) bajo condiciones de laboratorio. Rev Soc Entomol Argentina 62 :107–113.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 36

    Sant’Anna MR, Diotaiuti L, Gontijo AF, Gontijo NF, Pereira MH, 2001. Feeding behaviour of morphologically similar Rhodnius: influence of mechanical characteristics and salivary function. J Insect Physiol 47 :1459–1465.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 37

    Guarnieri AA, Diotaiuti L, Gontijo NF, Gontijo AF, Pereira MH, 2000. Comparison of feeding behaviour of Triatoma infestans, Triatoma brasiliensis and Triatoma pseudomaculata in different hosts by electronic monitoring of the cibarial pump. J Insect Physiol 46 :1121–1127.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 38

    Borges-Pereira J, Sarquis O, Zauza PL, Britto C, Lima MM, 2008. Epidemiologia da doença de Chagas em quatro localidades rurais de Jaguaruana, Estado do Ceará. III—Soroprevalência da infecção, parasitemia e aspectos clínicos. Rev Soc Bras Med Trop 41 :345–351.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Past two years Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 177 87 18
PDF Downloads 48 16 9
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Feeding and Defecation Patterns of Rhodnius nasutus (Hemiptera; Reduviidae), A Triatomine Native to an Area Endemic for Chagas Disease in the State of Ceará, Brazil

Tiago G. OliveiraLaboratório de Eco-Epidemiologia da Doença de Chagas, Laboratório de Sistemática Bioquímica, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Search for other papers by Tiago G. Oliveira in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Filipe A. Carvalho-CostaLaboratório de Eco-Epidemiologia da Doença de Chagas, Laboratório de Sistemática Bioquímica, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Search for other papers by Filipe A. Carvalho-Costa in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Otília SarquisLaboratório de Eco-Epidemiologia da Doença de Chagas, Laboratório de Sistemática Bioquímica, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Search for other papers by Otília Sarquis in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Marli M. LimaLaboratório de Eco-Epidemiologia da Doença de Chagas, Laboratório de Sistemática Bioquímica, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Search for other papers by Marli M. Lima in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close

The importance of Rhodnius nasutus in the transmission of Chagas disease in northeastern Brazil was investigated regarding feeding and defecation patterns of this triatomine under laboratory conditions. An average of 30 samples were studied for each instar, from fourth-instar nymphs onward. On average, 86.4% started feeding after less than 10 minutes. In terms of the duration of feeding, 53.3% of fourth instar nymphs, 81.9% of fifth-instar nymphs, 21.9% of males, and 36.7% of females fed for more than 15 minutes. In all groups, there were insects that defecated and urinated during feeding; adult males defecated the most and fourth instar nymphs defecated the least. The results demonstrate that R. nasutus may be considered an efficient T. cruzi vector because it avidly searches for a food source, has a lengthy feeding time with low probability of interruption during feeding, and achieves a high percentage of engorgement.

INTRODUCTION

Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi and is endemic in rural poor populations that live in homes in which triatomines can easily enter and settle.1 These insects are obligatorily hematophagous in all phases of their life cycle and are therefore susceptible to T. cruzi infection during all instar stages. However, because of differences in biologic and ecologic characteristics, only a limited number of species can cause the transmission of Chagas disease to humans. 2,3 The genus Rhodnius is one of the most important transmitters of Chagas disease because it comprises some of the main trypanosomiasis vectors, including Rhodnius prolixus. Palm trees are natural ecotopes of the Rhodnius species and may be considered ecologic indicators of risk areas for Chagas disease.46

Rhodnius nasutus (Stal 1859) is a wild species7 that is widespread in the semi-arid environments (Caatinga) of northeastern Brazil, 2,8 where it inhabits the crowns of palm trees and bird nests. 5,810 In the natural habitat, its feeding preference is for birds and opossums.9

This species, when compared with other native Rhodnius species in northeastern Brazil, exhibits a greater capacity for spreading. 11 Recent studies carried out in the state of Ceará indicate that besides being frequently captured in carnauba palms (Copernicia prunifera), R. nasutus has also been captured in oiticica (Licania rigida), a typical tree in the Caatinga (Brazilian scrublands) that belongs to the family Chrysobalanaceae. 12 This finding indicates that its habitat is not restricted to palm trees. In Caatinga, R. nasutus colonizes the peridomiciliar environment, mainly in hen houses and goat/sheep corrals. Adult insects are frequently collected inside homes, although intradomicile colonies have not yet been found. Among these environments, the captured samples almost always harbored T. cruzi with an infection level more than 15%, therefore presenting a risk for humans. 9,10,1316

Recently, in addition to T. cruzi, T. rangeli was encountered for the first time in R. nasutus in the state of Ceará, with a natural infection rate of 7.7%.9 In a recent survey conducted in Jaguaruana, Ceará, R. nasutus infected with T. cruzi were collected in intradomiciliar and peridomiciliar environments. 17

The genus Rhodnius is known for its voracity in searching for food 18 and for ingesting a high volume of blood during feeding. Considering that the time that triatomine insects take to defecate is a crucial factor in the transmission of T. cruzi,19,20 the present study investigated the feeding and defecation patterns of R. nasutus with the goal of estimating its potential capacity for transmitting Chagas disease in northeastern Brazil.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Rhodnius nasutus insects used in this study were part of the third generation of a colony that was originally from peri-urban areas of Jaguaruana, a small city located in the Jaguaribe Valley in the eastern region of the state of Ceará. Third-instar nymphs were fed on a pigeon every two weeks and were kept at room temperature until ecdysis to the following instar stage. On average, 30 samples of each instar were observed, starting with fourth-instar nymphs and continuing until the occurrence of male and female differentiation, resulting in a total of 125 specimens.

Observations were carried out between the seventh and ninth days after ecdysis, the period in which the insects were deprived of food. Rhodnius nasutus specimens were individually identified 21 and placed into transparent glass vials that were covered with a nylon screen and contained folded filter paper to facilitate the insects’ movement and enable contact with the food source.

A pigeon with a previously plucked flank was anesthetized with a mixture of ketamine (20 mg/kg) and xilazina (2 mg/kg) and placed over the glass vials where the behavior of the triatomines was monitored. This procedure was reviewed and approved by the Animal Use and Care Committee of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (license no. L-0064/08). A 90-minute period was allotted for each observation and the following variables were assessed: host-contacting time, feeding time, index feeding time/host-contacting time, number of interruptions during feeding, percentage of engorged insects, and percentage of insects that excreted feces during or up to 10 minutes after feeding.

The host-contacting time was defined as the interval from the moment when food was offered to the moment when the insect had its mouthparts inserted into the pigeon’s skin. The feeding time was defined as the interval from the first bite to the moment when the insect abandoned the food source. An insect was considered fully engorged when it became completely replete with blood, changing clearly its shape through abdominal stretching.

Observations were carried out between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm in natural light and at room temperature. Temperature and humidity were recorded with a Fisher Scientific thermohygrometer (Fisher Scientific, Pittsburgh, PA) and were 29.5 ± 3.5°C and 63.5 ± 9.2%, respectively. Statistical analyses were carried out using the Kruskal-Wallis, Fisher’s exact, and chi-square tests with the BioEstat (Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá (IDSM), Tefé, AM) and Epi Info (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA) statistical programs.

RESULTS

Host-contacting time.

A high percentage (86.4%) of the 125 triatomines studied took less than 10 minutes to start moving towards the food source. Males started feeding more quickly, followed by females and fifth-instar nymphs. The fourth-instar nymphs took longer between movement and feeding (Figure 1), but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.369).

Feeding time.

After reaching the food source, 60% of fourth-instar nymphs, 87.8% of fifth-instar nymphs, 25% of males, and 43.3% of females took more than 15 minutes to feed. As shown in Figure 2, males and females showed a statistically significant lower feeding time than fifth-instar nymphs (P < 0.001). Males showed a lower feeding time than fourth-instar nymphs (P < 0.001).

Index feeding time/host-contacting time.

This index relates the time the insect takes to feed, and thus became in contact with the host, and the time it takes to contact the host, which reflects avidity by the blood source. The fifth-instar nymphs showed the highest index, but the difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.089) (Figure 3).

Number of interruptions.

Once engorgement started, most of the triatomines continued with no interruption until reaching repletion. Females showed greater continuity when eating because only 3 of 30 had any interruptions. The number of feeding interruptions for fourth-instar nymphs, fifth-instar nymphs, and males ranged from one to four times (P = 0.374) (Table 1).

Excrement elimination during and directly after feeding.

Of 125 triatomines tested, 72 (57.6%) defecated while feeding. Of these triatomines, 45 (62.5%) defecated more than once. As shown in Table 2, the highest percentage of defecation during feeding was in adult males (75%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 56.6–88.5%) and the lowest was for fourth-instar nymphs (46.7%, 95% CI = 28.3–65.7%). However, there was no statistically significant difference (P = 0.085). We observed that within 10 minutes after feeding, 62.5% (95% CI = 43.7–78.9%) of males and 24.2% (95% CI = 11.1–42.3%) of fifth-instar nymphs had eliminated excrement (P = 0.018).

Percentage of insects that became engorged after feeding.

A total of 90.4% of triatomines were completely engorged after feeding. The highest proportion of engorgement was observed among fifth-instar nymphs (97%) and the lowest was among males (75%) (P = 0.007) (Table 2).

DISCUSSION

Information on the feeding and defecation patterns of Triatominae is relevant to the epidemiology of Chagas disease because it is indicative of the species’ capacity as a vector for T. cruzi transmission. Despite the potential importance of R. nasutus in the epidemiology of this disease in northeastern Brazil, especially in the state of Ceará, no studies have been conducted to assess its actual capacity for T. cruzi transmission. In this regard, some variables related to the feeding and defecation behavior of triatomines are important in evaluating their potential as vectors. Among these behavioral variables, the time elapsed between the offering of the food source and the initiation of feeding (host-contacting time) denotes to some extent the avidity of the insects for the blood source, which is a prerequisite for transmission of T. cruzi infection.

We observed that after the food source was made available, R. nasutus specimens took a median of 15 minutes (range = 5–76 minutes) to start feeding. Differences between the various instars were not significant. The average time to feeding was previously reported to be four and five minutes for R. prolixus and R. pictipes feeding on mice and pigeons, respectively. 22,23 Moreover, most R. neiva, R. prolixus, and R. robustus took less than three minutes to start feeding on artificial feeders filled with human blood. 24 Despite the differences in the methods used in these experiments with regard to the food source and other laboratory conditions, we suggest that R. nasutus, like other Rhodnius species, shows good avidity and voracity for the blood source and rapid initiation of feeding.

The pigeons used had not previously served as a food source for the insects. This ensured that there was no possibility of them being contaminated with R. nasutus saliva because it has been suggested that previous exposure to triatomine saliva results in a shortened host-contacting time for feeding. 25

With regard to the feeding time, increased contact time with the food source should create a greater chance of eliminating feces on the host. 26 The time spent to engorge could also constitute an epidemiologically relevant variable when the source is infected because the longer the triatomine spends engorging, the greater the chance for parasite ingestion, 17 although the chance of a feeding interruption also increases because of host movement. In our observations, the average feeding time of R. nasutus was 20 minutes to reach engorgement. It was reported that species that are epidemiologically important in the transmission of Chagas disease had long feeding times: 17, 21, and 30 minutes for R. prolixus, Triatoma infestans, and Triatoma dimidiata, respectively.27 Nevertheless, some insects took 4–10 minutes to engorge. 22

Interruptions during feeding also represent an important behavioral characteristic with regard to T. cruzi transmission by triatomines. In this context, species that show continuous feeding have a longer contact period with the host and may be considered more efficient vectors. We observed that although most individuals did not show any interruptions during feeding, few R. nasutus specimens in all instars had interruptions, as observed in other triatomine species. In previous studies, other investigators 28 reported interruptions in all R. colombiensis and R. prolixus instars except for R. colombiensis first instars, in which none of the specimens interrupted their feeding. Also, although most Triatoma rubrofasciata nymphs did not interrupt their feeding, few interruptions were observed for all studied instars. 29 Similar findings were observed in our study: R. nasutus tended to show continuous feeding, and only 20% of specimens had interrupted feeding.

Because T. cruzi is transmitted by feces, triatomines that defecate during feeding or a short time after repast are of great importance in the transmission of Chagas disease. In our study, a high percentage of R. nasutus defecated during or directly after feeding. This data also indicates the capacity of the genus Rhodnius to be a vector for T. cruzi transmission, as has also been observed by other investigators. 23,3032 It was observed that of six triatomines species studied, 33 50% of R. prolixus specimens defecated during or soon after repast. The authors argued that on the basis of defecation behavior, R. prolixus could be the most efficient vector for T. cruzi transmission among all species studied. Also, it was shown that R. prolixus had the greatest defecation index in nearly all instars when compared with T. dimidiata and T. infestans.22 With regard to other genera of Triatominae, 73% of Triatoma patagonica specimens defecated within 30 minutes after feeding. 34 It was also demonstrated that Triatoma rubrovaria defecated frequently during and after feeding, 35 whereas T. rubrofasciata defecated little during feeding. 29

To compare the vector potential of different instars of R. nasutus, we evaluated the behavioral variables of host-contacting time, feeding time, index feeding time/host-contacting time, and rate of defecation. With regard to the host-contacting time, adult males started feeding more quickly. Nevertheless, fifth-instar nymphs showed the longest feeding time, being the slowest to engorge. We observed that fifth-instar nymphs tended to show the highest index, combining a shorter time to the initiation of feeding with a longer time in contact with the host, but this was not statistically significant. With regard to the rate of insects that were engorged after feeding, we found that the highest proportion of engorgement was observed among fifth-instar nymphs and the lowest was among males. However, with respect to the defecation pattern, fifth-instar nymphs had a rate of defecation significantly lower than that of adult males. It was reported that R. prolixus and R. colombiensis fifth-instar nymphs have a longer feeding time than other instars. 22,28 It has been proposed that the longer feeding time observed for fifth-instar nymphs may be related to a greater food requirement because of the acquisition of new anatomic structures during molting to the adult stage. 28

The results obtained in this study might have been different with a mammal or an artificial feeder as the food source because the host may influence feeding patterns in triatom-ines. A study analyzing four species of the R. prolixus complex, including R. nasutus, found distinct feeding behaviors with different hosts (artificial feeder, pigeon, and mouse). 36 These results suggested that R. nasutus was the most effective species in obtaining blood from mice. However, this species had a quicker host-contacting time than the other species when feeding on pigeons (R. nasutus < R. prolixus < R. neglectus < R. robustus). The average number of non-ingestive events was usually higher on mice than on pigeons for all species except R. nasutus. In terms of cumulative host-contact time, the quickest species when feeding on pigeons were R. prolixus and R. neglectus < R. nasutus < R. robustus. The authors argued that differences among these species might be related to distinct salivary adaptations to each host and implied that R. nasutus may be well-adapted to feed on mice. 36

Regarding other triatomine species, a study comparing the feeding behavior of Triatoma infestans, Triatoma brasiliensis, and Triatoma pseudomaculata showed that the rate of engorgement tended to be greater on pigeons than on mice in all three species. With mice, host-contacting time tended to be longer, with more prolonged interruptions, reinforcing the conjecture that feeding on mice is more difficult than feeding on pigeons and requires more contact time to obtain a similar quantity of blood. 37

Chagas disease is endemic in Caatinga, 8,38 where R. nasutus has been commonly found in domiciliary units along with Triatoma brasiliensis and Triatoma pseudomaculata. These are autochthonous species and are thus more difficult to control. Additionally, they commonly show high indices of T. cruzi infection when captured in their natural habitats.

Before successful Triatoma infestans control in the Southern Cone countries of South America, wild or semi-wild triatomines aroused little attention because they were restricted to their wild environments. Currently, sylvatic triatomines have drawn the attention of public health authorities because these insects have invaded domiciles and peridomiciles in rural and periurban zones of disease-endemic regions, which is probably a consequence of deforestation and alterations in their natural ecotopes. 10 This finding became more evident after the effective control of Triatoma infestans was achieved in countries where this triatomine was the main vector of Chagas disease. Such a change in the epidemiologic scenario has encouraged authorities to realize the importance of secondary vector species for the success of control of disease in disease-endemic areas. In this context, understanding biologic aspects such as the life cycle, reproduction, feeding, and defecation patterns, as well as the capacity for invasion and colonization of artificial ecotopes, is of great importance in planning of control programs in disease-endemic areas. Understanding these various factors clarifies the risks posed by these species with regard to T. cruzi transmission.

Table 1

Number of feeding interruptions in different Rhodnius nasutus instars, Ceará, Brazil

Table 1
Table 2

Rates of defecation during and after feeding, and engorgement in different instars of Rhodnius nasutus, Ceará, Brazil*

Table 2
Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Box plots representing medians and interquartile intervals of the host-contacting time for different instar stages of Rhodnius nasutus, Ceará, Brazil.

Citation: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Am J Trop Med Hyg 81, 4; 10.4269/ajtmh.2009.08-0590

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Box plots representing medians and interquartile intervals of the feeding time for different instars of Rhodnius nasutus, Ceará, Brazil. *, **, and *** Significant differences between groups (P < 0.05, by Kruskal-Wallis test).

Citation: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Am J Trop Med Hyg 81, 4; 10.4269/ajtmh.2009.08-0590

Figure 3.
Figure 3.

Box plots representing medians and interquartile intervals of the index feeding time/host-contacting time for different instars of Rhodnius nasutus, Ceará, Brazil.

Citation: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Am J Trop Med Hyg 81, 4; 10.4269/ajtmh.2009.08-0590

*

Address correspondence to Marli M. Lima, Laboratório de Eco-Epidemiologia da Doença de Chagas, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz. Av. Brasil, 4365, 21045-900, Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brazil. E-mail: mmlima@ioc.fiocruz.br

Authors’ addresses: Tiago G. Oliveira, Otília Sarquis, and Marli M. Lima, Laboratório de Eco-Epidemiologia da Doença de Chagas, IOC, FIOCRUZ, Av. Brasil, 4365, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil, CEP 21045-900, E-mails: tiago@ioc.fiocruz.br, otiliasarquis@ioc.fiocruz.br, and mmlima@ioc.fiocruz.br. Filipe Anibal Carvalho-Costa, Laboratório de Sistemática Bioquímica, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, CEP 21045-900, E-mail: guaratiba@ioc.fiocruz.br.

Financial support: This study was supported by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro.

REFERENCES

  • 1

    Dias JC, Dias RB, 1979. Aspectos sociais, econômicos e culturais da doença de Chagas. Cienc Cult 31 :105–117.

  • 2

    Lent H, Wygodzisnky P, 1979. Revision of the Triatominae (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) and their significance as vectors of Chagas’ disease. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 163 :123–520.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3

    Carcavallo UR, Rodríguez ME, Salvatella R, Curto de Casas SI, Sherlock IS, Galvão C, Rocha DS, Girón IG, Arocha MA, Martinez A, Da Rosa JA, Canale DM, Farr TH, Barata JM, 1999. Habitats and related fauna. Carcavallo UR, Girón IG, Jurbeg J, Lent H, eds. Atlas of Chagas Disease Vectors in the Americas. Volume II. Rio de Janeiro: Editora FIOCRUZ, 561–600.

  • 4

    Romaña CA, Pizzarro JC, Rodas E, Guilbert E, 1999. Palm trees as ecological indicator of risk areas for Chagas disease. Trop Med Hyg 93 :594–595.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5

    Carcavallo RU, Curto de Casas SI, Sherlock IA, Galíndez-Girón I, Jurberg J, Galvão C, Mena Segura CA, 1999. Geographical distribution and alti-latitudinal dispersion. Carcavallo UR, Girón IG, Jurbeg J, Lent H, eds. Atlas of Chagas Disease Vectors in the Americas. Volume III. Editora Rio de Janeiro: FIOCRUZ, 747–792.

  • 6

    Fé NF, França MS, Carvalho-Costa FA, 2009. Reassessing the entomological investigation around the first autochthonous case of Chagas disease in western Brazilian Amazon. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 104 :121–123.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7

    Silveira AC, Feitosa VR, Borges R, 1984. Distribuição de triatomíneos domiciliados no período 1975/1983 no Brasil. Rev Bras Malariol Doencas Trop 36 :15–312.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8

    Alencar JE, 1987. História Natural da Doença de Chagas no Estado do Ceará. Ceará, Brazil: Imprensa Universidade da UFC.

  • 9

    Dias FB, Diotaiuti L, Romanha AJ, Bezerra CM, Machado EM, 2007. First report on the occurrence of Trypanosoma rangeli Tejera, 1920 in the state of Ceará, Brazil, in naturally infected triatomine Rhodnius nasutus Stal, 1859 (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae). Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 102 :643–645.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10

    Lima MM, Coutinho CF, Gomes TF, Oliveira TG, Duarte R, Boia MN, Borges-Pereira J, Sarquis O, 2008. Risk presented by Copernicia prunifera palm trees in the Rhodnius nasutus distribution in a Chagas disease-endemic area of the Brazilian northeast. Am J Trop Med Hyg 79 :750–754.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11

    Dias JC, Machado EM, Fernandes AL, Vinhaes MC, 2000. Esboço geral e perspectiva da doença de Chagas no Brasil. Cad Saude Publica 16 :13–34.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12

    Lima MM, Sarquis O, 2008. Is Rhodnius nasutus (Hemiptera; Reduviidae) changing it habitat as a consequence of human activities? Parasitol Res 102 :797–800.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13

    Sarquis O, MacCord JR, Gomes TF, Cabello PH, Pereira JB, Lima MM, 2004. Epidemiology of Chagas disease in Jaguaruana, Ceará, Brazil. I. Presence of triatomines and index of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in four localities of a rural area. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 99 :263–270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14

    Pacheco RS, Brito C, Sarquis O, Pires MQ, Pereira JB, Lima MM, 2005. Genetic heterogeneity in sylvatic Trypanosoma cruzi strains from naturally infected triatomines vectors in Northeastern Brazil: epidemiological implications. Biochem Genet 43 :519–530.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15

    Sarquis O, Teixeira RS, Oliveira TG, MacCord JR, Cabelo PH, Borges-Pereira J, Lima MM, 2006. Aspects of peridomiciliar ecotopes in rural areas of northeastern Brazil associated to triatomine (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) infestation, vectors of Chagas disease. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 101 :143–147.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16

    Brito CMM, Lima MM, Sarquis O, Pires MQ, Coutinho CF, Duarte R, Pacheco RS, 2008. Genetic polymorphism in Trypanosoma cruzi I isolated from Brazilian northeast triatomines revealed by low-stringency single specific primerpolymerase chain reaction. Parasitol Res 103 :1111–1117.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17

    Sarquis O, 2003. Aspectos Epidemiológicos da Doença de Chagas na Zona Rural de Jaguaruana, Ceará, Brasil. PhD thesis. FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro.

  • 18

    Galvão C, Rocha DS, Cunha V, Jurberg J, Carcavallo RU, 2001. Tempo de alimentação e defecação das ninfas de Triatoma melanosoma Martínez, Olmedo & Carcavallo, 1987 (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) em diferentes condições de temperatura e umidade. Rev Bras Zool 18 :233–242.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19

    Piesman J, Sherlock IA, 1983. Factors controlling the volume produced by triatominae vectors of Chagas disease. Acta Trop 40 :351–358.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20

    Zárate LG, López GM, Ozuna MC, Santiago GG, Zárate RJ, 1984. The biology and behavior of Triatoma barberi (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in Mexico. IV—Feeding and defecation patterns. J Med Entomol 21 :548–560.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21

    MacCord JR, Jurberg P, Lima MM, 1983. Marcação individual de triatomíneos para estudos comportamentais e ecológicos. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 78 :473–476.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22

    Zeledón R, Alvarado R, Jirón LF, 1977. Observations on the feeding and defecation patterns of three triatomine species (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Acta Trop 34 :65–77.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 23

    Rocha DS, Galvão C, Jurberg J, 1994. Biologia do Rhodnius pictipes Stal, 1872 em condições de laboratório (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae). Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 89 :265–270.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24

    Aldana E, Lizano E, Rodriguez M, Valderrama A, 2001. Alimentación y defecación en triatominos del género Rhodnius (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) alimentados con sangre humana. Rev Biol Trop 49 :693–695.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25

    Hecht MM, Bussacos AC, Lozzi SP, Santana JM, Teixeira ARL, 2006. Triatoma infestans chooses to feed upon immune prey. Am J Trop Med Hyg 75 :893–900.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26

    Rabinovich JE, Leal JA, Feliciangeli de Pinero D, 1979. Domiciliary biting frequency and blood ingestion of the Chagas’ disease vector Rhodnius prolixus Stål (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), in Venezuela. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 73 :272–283.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27

    Zeledón R, Rabinovich JE, 1981. Chagas disease: an ecological appraisal with special emphasis on its insect vectors. Annu Rev Entomol 26 :101–133.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28

    Arévalo A, Carranza JC, Guhl F, Clavijo JA, Vallejo GA, 2007. Comparación de los patrones de alimentación y defecación de Rhodnius colombiensis y Rhodnius prolixus (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) en condiciones de laboratorio. Biomedica (Bogota) 27 :101–109.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29

    Braga MV, Lima MM, 1999. Feeding and defecation patterns of nymphs of Triatoma rubrofasciata (De Geer, 1773) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), and its potential role as vector for Trypanosoma cruzi. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 94 :127–129.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 30

    Maddrell SH, 1964. Excretion in the blood-sucking bug, Rhodnius prolixus Stal. II. The normal course of diuresis and the effect of temperature. J Exp Biol 41 :163–176.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 31

    Krinsky WL, 1985. Feeding, molting, and egg production in Rhodnius prolixus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) fed repeatedly on the same Swiss mouse hosts. J Med Entomol 22 :670–674.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 32

    Rocha DS, Santos CM, Cunha V, Jurberg J, Galvão C, 2004. Ciclo biológico em laboratório de Rhodnius brethesi Matta, 1919 (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae), potencial vetor silvestre da doença de Chagas na Amazônia. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 99 :591–595.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 33

    Dias E, 1956. Observações sobre eliminação de dejeções e tempo de sucção em alguns triatomíneos sul americanos. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 54 :115–124.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 34

    Nattero J, Crocco LB, Rodríguez CS, 2002. Feeding and defecation behaviour of Triatoma patagonica (Del Ponte, 1929) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 97 :1063–1065.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 35

    Bar ME, Milano AM, Damborsky MP, Oscherov EB, Avalos G, 2003. Patrones de alimentación y de defecación de Triatoma rubrovaria (Heteroptera: Reduviidae) bajo condiciones de laboratorio. Rev Soc Entomol Argentina 62 :107–113.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 36

    Sant’Anna MR, Diotaiuti L, Gontijo AF, Gontijo NF, Pereira MH, 2001. Feeding behaviour of morphologically similar Rhodnius: influence of mechanical characteristics and salivary function. J Insect Physiol 47 :1459–1465.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 37

    Guarnieri AA, Diotaiuti L, Gontijo NF, Gontijo AF, Pereira MH, 2000. Comparison of feeding behaviour of Triatoma infestans, Triatoma brasiliensis and Triatoma pseudomaculata in different hosts by electronic monitoring of the cibarial pump. J Insect Physiol 46 :1121–1127.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 38

    Borges-Pereira J, Sarquis O, Zauza PL, Britto C, Lima MM, 2008. Epidemiologia da doença de Chagas em quatro localidades rurais de Jaguaruana, Estado do Ceará. III—Soroprevalência da infecção, parasitemia e aspectos clínicos. Rev Soc Bras Med Trop 41 :345–351.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
Save