Bird-biting mosquitoes act as bridge vectors of diverse pathogens of emerging infectious diseases. In this study, we report for the first time the abundance, diversity, distribution, and feeding pattern of bird-biting mosquitoes on an island where avifaunal diversity is rich. Monthly mosquito collections were done at six different habitats in three different climatic zones using bird-baited traps over a year. Collected mosquitoes were identified using morphological and molecular tools. A total of 2,655 bird-biting mosquitoes of eight genera and 25 species were identified. Of these, 52% were Culex species, which represents 35% of the Culex species in the country. The most abundant species were Culex sitiens, Cx. pseudovishnui, Cx. nigropunctatus and Cx. quinquefasciatus, whereas the latter two were common to all habitats. The highest abundance was reported in lowland forests (49.6%), while it was lowest in highland forests (22.3%). Highest species similarity was reported from highland forests. Seasonal variations of the most abundant species were significantly different in selected habitats (p< 0.05). Two distinct biting peaks were identified, from 06:00 to 21:00 and 22:00 to 02:00. The biting nature of identified ornithophilic mosquitoes suggests the potential vector status of these mosquitoes.
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Vol. 43 • No. 1