The objective of this study was to determine the influence of the blood meal source on the life cycle and reproductive development of female Triatoma infestans (Klug, 1834), Triatoma brasiliensis Neiva, 1911, Triatoma sordida (Stal, 1859), and Triatoma pseudomaculata Corrêa & Espínola, 1964. In all triatomine species studied the life cycle was shorter for the groups fed on mice than for those fed on pigeons, the range of differences being between 1.5 times (T. pseudomaculata and T. infestans) and 2.4 times (T. brasiliensis). The mortality rate of nymphs during the life cycle tended to be greater in insects fed on pigeons than in those fed on mice, the differences for T. brasiliensis being statistically significant. Females of T. sordida and T. pseudomaculata had a greater fecundity than those of T. infestans and T. brasiliensis independently of the blood meal source. The differences of fecundity observed probably reflect differences in the availability of blood in the silvatic ecotopes of these species, meals being more frequent for T. infestans and T. brasiliensis, which live at high densities in association with rodents in highly stable ecotopes. Because T. sordida and T. pseudomaculata live in more unstable ecotopes with fewer sources of blood they form small sparse colonies and invest more energy in reproduction than maintenance.
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