We collected blood-fed, snow-melt mosquitoes (Culicidae: Culiseta and Aedes) to describe the feeding patterns of potential mosquito vectors of Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV, Bunyaviridae: Orthobunyavirus). JCV is an arthropod-borne, zoonotic virus with deer as the primary amplifying host in western alpine ecosystems. We collected mosquitoes from natural resting areas, fiber pots, and carbon-dioxide baited miniature light traps in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in 2007. We conducted two polymerase chain reactions to amplify and sequence vertebrate DNA extracted from blood-fed mosquitoes, which yielded comparable, but not identical, results. Mammal-specific primers found mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and elk (Cervus elaphus canadensis) as the source of all bloodmeals. To determine if unamplified bloodmeals were from nonmammalian sources, we screened all samples with conserved vertebrate primers, which confirmed the initial polymerase chain reaction results, but also found porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) and human (Homo sapiens) as additional bloodmeal sources. We consistently found that mule deer were the primary hosts for mosquitoes in this system. These results suggest that snow-melt mosquitoes, in particular A. cataphylla, may be important vectors in western JCV alpine systems and may also act as a bridge vector for JCV from cervid virus reservoirs to humans.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2