Abstract

The blood meals of field-collected female Culex territans (Diptera: Culicidae) were concurrently assayed for the presence of trypanosomes and for vertebrate host identification. We amplified vertebrate DNA in 42 of 119 females and made positive identification to the host species level in 29 of those samples. Of the 119 field-collected Cx. territans females, 24 were infected with trypanosomes. Phylogenetic analysis placed the trypanosomes in the amphibian portion of the aquatic clade of the Trypanosomatidae. These trypanosomes were isolated from Cx. territans females that had fed on the frog species Rana clamitans, R. catesbeiana, R. virgatipes, and Rana spp. Results support a potential new lineage of dipteran-transmitted amphibian trypanosomes may occur within the aquatic clade. The frequency in which female Cx. territans acquire trypanosomes, through diverse feeding habits, indicates a new relationship between amphibian trypanosomes and mosquitoes that has not been examined previously. Combining Trypanosoma species, invertebrate, and vertebrate hosts to existing phylogenies can elucidate trypanosome and host relationships.

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