Aedes albopictus (Skuse) is a competent vector of arboviruses of public health importance, including dengue virus (DENV) and chikungunya virus viruses. Ae. albopictus is the primary vector of chikungunya virus in Singapore. However, despite being ubiquitous, it plays a secondary role in DENV transmission. The vectorial capacity of Ae. albopictus for DENV in field settings appears to be weak because dengue primarily occurs in Aedes aegypti (L.)-dominated, urban settings of the country. As host-seeking behavior is one of the determinants of vectorial capacity, we screened 6,762 female Ae. albopictus from rural, semiurban, and urban locations in Singapore for avian and nonavian bloodmeals using two polymerase chain reaction-sequencing assays developed in-house. The majority (83.2%, n = 79) of bloodmeals from rural and semiurban areas were from humans. However, Ae. albopictus was also found to feed on shrews, swine, dogs, cats, turtles, and multiple hosts in rural settings. In urban areas, all positive bloodmeals were from humans. There were no avian bloodmeals. Our findings testify that Ae. albopictus is highly anthropophagic even in rural settings, but become opportunistic in extremely low human abundance. This opportunistic feeding behavior warrants further investigations into the vectorial capacity of Ae. albopictus to assess its role in arbovirus transmission in endemic habitats.
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Vol. 51 • No. 4