Despite the importance of per-capita feeding rates for mosquito-borne transmission dynamics, the relationship between host aggregation and per-capita feeding rates remains poorly characterized. We conducted indoor experiments to investigate how Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) mosquitoes distribute their blood feeding on variably aggregated domestic chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus L.) (one chicken vs. a flock of seven to nine birds). Mosquitoes were always more likely to feed on the larger chicken group; yet, the single chicken tended to be fed on at a higher per-capita rate. When 10 chickens were available the feeding intensity was 4.5 times higher for the single chicken compared with the flock. We conclude that more highly aggregated hosts may experience lower exposure to mosquito bites than less aggregated hosts.
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Vol. 48 • No. 6