Host feeding patterns were examined for four species of Culex mosquitoes collected from 18 sites in or adjacent to East Baton Rouge Parish, LA, from November 2002 to October 2004. Host DNA from 37 bloodied Culex coronator Dyar and Knab, 67 bloodfed Cx. salinarius Coquillett, 112 bloodfed Cx. nigripalpus Theobald, and 684 bloodfed Cx. quinquefasciatus Say were identified. The percentages of bloodmeals containing mammalian DNA were 94.6% for Cx. coronator, 82.1% for Cx. salinarius, 66.1% for Cx. nigripalpus, and 40.1% for Cx. quinquefasciatus. Human DNA was detected in 7% of the bloodmeals from Cx. quinquefasciatus and 2.7% of the bloodmeals from Cx. nigripalpus. The northern cardinal was the most frequent avian host of Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. nigripalpus. In 2003 and 2004, there was no significant relationship from May through October between the proportion of Cx. quinquefasciatus feeding on mammalian hosts and the date of collection. Of the six avian species most frequently fed on by Cx. quinquefasciatus, the northern cardinal, northern mockingbird, common grackle, and brown thrasher were fed on more frequently than expected based on their abundance. House sparrows were fed on less frequently than expected based on their abundance. These data support the conclusions of previous studies that Cx. quinquefasciatus is the most important vector for both the enzootic amplification and transmission of West Nile virus to humans in southern Louisiana.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2