Date of Award

3-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Environmental and Forest Biology

Thesis Advisor

Stephen A. Teale

Abstract

Olfactory cues emanating from oviposition sites have strong potential as management tools for insect pests. The mosquito Culiseta melanura is the principal vector of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and utilizes regionally specific oviposition sites. In the Northeast, these are usually red maple "crypts". Volatile organic compounds were collected from red-maple crypts occupied by C. melanura. In the laboratory, these volatiles were then assessed in a behavioral bioassay to determine attraction of female C. melanura. Thirty-seven percent of C. melanura test subjects responded positively to volatiles, none responded to controls, and the other eighty-percent were unresponsive. These results suggest an olfactory role in oviposition site selection in C. melanura; however further testing with more robust sample sizes should be conducted. The threat of EEE transmission from this vector to mammalian hosts including humans is serious and control measures based on environmentally benign semiochemicals rather than insecticides should be developed.

Included in

Entomology Commons

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