Host-feeding patterns of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in urban and rural contexts within Rome province, Italy

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2010 Apr;10(3):291-4. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2009.0007.


Knowledge of the frequency of contact between a mosquito species and its different hosts is essential to understand the role of each vector species in the transmission of diseases to humans and/or animals. However, no data are so far available on the feeding habits of Aedes albopictus in Italy or in other recently colonized temperate regions of Europe, due to difficulties in collecting blood-fed females of this diurnal and exophilic species. We analyzed Ae. albopictus host-feeding patterns in two urban and two rural sites within the area of Rome (Italy). Ae. albopictus was collected using sticky-traps and the blood-meal origin of 303 females was determined by direct dot-ELISA. The blood-fed sample, although representing only 4% of the total Ae. albopictus collected, demonstrates the useful application of sticky-trap in studying the feeding behavior of the species. The human blood index was significantly different among sites, ranging from 79-96% in urban sites to 23-55% in rural sites, where horses and bovines represented the most bitten hosts. The results obtained confirm the plastic feeding behavior shown by Ae. albopictus in its original range of distribution and highlights the high potential of this species as a vector of human pathogens in urban areas of Italy, where both humans and the mosquito itself may reach very high densities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aedes / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Female
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insect Vectors / physiology
  • Rome
  • Rural Population*
  • Urban Population*