Identifying environmental drivers of insect phenology across space and time: Culicoides in Scotland as a case study

Interpreting spatial patterns in the abundance of species over time is a fundamental cornerstone of ecological research. For many species, this type of analysis is hampered by datasets that contain a large proportion of zeros, and data that are overdispersed and spatially autocorrelated. This is particularly true for insects, for which abundance data can fluctuate from zero to many thousands in the space of weeks.

Statistical models for spatially explicit biological data

SUMMARY Existing algorithms for predicting species' distributions sit on a continuum between purely statistical and purely biological approaches. Most of the existing algorithms are aspatial because they do not consider the spatial context, the occurrence of the species or conditions conducive to the species' existence, in neighbouring areas. The geostatistical techniques of kriging and cokriging are presented in an attempt to encourage biologists more frequently to consider them. Unlike deterministic spatial techniques they provide estimates of prediction errors.

Host preferences of Palaearctic Culicoides biting midges: implications for transmission of orbiviruses

Feeding success depends on host availability, host defensive reactions and host preferences. Host choice is a critical determinant of the intensity at which pathogens are transmitted. The aim of the current study was to describe host preferences of Palaearctic Culicoides species (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) Latreille using traps baited with the five different host species of poultry, horse, cattle, sheep and goat. Collections were carried out nightly in July and August 2009 in western France with three replicates of a 5 × 5 randomized Latin square (five sites, five hosts).

Host-Seeking Activity of Bluetongue Virus Vectors: Endo/Exophagy and Circadian Rhythm of Culicoides in Western Europe

Feeding success of free-living hematophagous insects depends on their ability to be active when hosts are available and to reach places where hosts are accessible. When the hematophagous insect is a vector of pathogens, determining the components of host-seeking behavior is of primary interest for the assessment of transmission risk. Our aim was to describe endo/exophagy and circadian host-seeking activity of Palaearctic Culicoides species, which are major biting pests and arbovirus vectors, using drop traps and suction traps baited with four sheep, as bluetongue virus hosts.

A new algorithm quantifies the roles of wind and midge flight activity in the bluetongue epizootic in North-West Europe

The 2006 bluetongue outbreak in North-Western Europe had devastating effects on cattle and sheep in that intensively farmed area. The role of wind in disease spread, through its effect on Culicoides dispersal, is still uncertain, and remains unquantified. We examine here the relationship between farm-level infection dates and wind speed and direction within the framework of a novel model involving both mechanistic and stochastic steps.

Association between land cover and Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) breeding sites on four Danish cattle farms

Biting midges of the genus Culicoides are vectors of bluetongue virus. Their lar-val habitats are poorly known in Northern Europe. Three classes of the CORINE land cover index, found within 300 m of four farms in Denmark, were used to stratify sampling sites for a total of 360 soil core samples from 30 sampling points. Soil samples were set up in emergence chambers for hatching adult Culicoides. Two species of Culicoides (C. punctatus and C. pulicaris) emergedfrom nine of 12 soil samples from a wet, grazed field with manure.

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