To identify potential vectors of avian malaria in Hawaiian native forests, the innate susceptibility of Aedes albopictus, Wyeomyia mitchellii, and Culex quinquefasciatus from 3 geographical sites along an altitudinal gradient was evaluated using local isolates of Plasmodium relictum. Mosquitoes were dissected 5-8 and 9-13 days postinfective blood meal and microscopically examined for oocysts and salivary-gland sporozoites. Sporogony was completed in all 3 species, but prevalence between species varied significantly. Oocysts were detected in 1-2% and sporozoites in 1-7% of Aedes albopictus that fed on infected ducklings. Wyeomyia mitchellii was slightly more susceptible, with 7-19% and 7% infected with oocysts and sporozoites, respectively. In both species, the median oocyst number was 5 or below. This is only the second Wyeomyia species reported to support development of a malarial parasite. Conversely, Culex quinquefasciatus from all 3 sites proved very susceptible. Prevalence of oocysts and sporozoites consistently exceeded 70%, regardless of gametocytemia or origin of the P. relictum isolate. In trials for which a maximum 200 oocysts were recorded, the median number of oocysts ranged from 144 to 200. It was concluded that Culex quinquefasciatus is the primary vector of avian malaria in Hawai'i. ?? American Society of Parasitologists 2005.
Additional publication details
Comparative susceptibility of introduced forest-dwelling mosquitoes in Hawai'i to avian malaria, Plasmodium relictum