Haematophagy and cleptohaematophagy of clerada apicicornis (Hemiptera: lygaeidae), a potential biological control agent of rhodnius prolixus (Hemiptera: reduviidae).
Because of its ability to prey on Triatominae in rural houses, Clerada apicicornis has been suggested as a potential biological control agent of Rhodnius prolixus. It has also been suggested as a potential vector of mammalian trypanosomes such as Trypanosoma cruzi, because of its ability to take blood directly from mammals. To help resolve these conflicting ideas, we assessed the haematophagic behaviour of C. apicicornis by carrying out feeding trials on laboratory animals. Cleptohaematophagic behaviour was also assessed by allowing C. apicicornis to feed on R. prolixus previously engorged with avian blood. The low proportion of blood meals taken directly from laboratory animals indicates a facultative haematophagy in this species, whereas a greater proportion of nymphs and adults were able to obtain vertebrate blood by predation on engorged R. prolixus. The results suggest that C. apicicornis is unlikely to be effective as a biological control agent, but is also unlikely to have a significant role in the transmission of vertebrate pathogens. (+info)
Novel peptides from assassin bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae): isolation, chemical and biological characterization.
Three novel peptides were isolated from the venomous saliva of predatory reduviids. They were identified by mass spectrometry and HPLC analysis and consist of 34-36 amino acid residues. They are relatively homologous to the calcium channel blockers omega-conotoxins from marine cone snails and belong to the four-loop Cys scaffold structural class. Ptu1, the shortest peptide, was chemically synthesized (sPtu1) and co-eluted with its native form. Circular dichroism spectra of the sPtu1 showed a high content of beta-turns similar to that of omega-conotoxins GVIA and MVIIA. Electrophysiological experiments demonstrated that sPtu1 reversibly blocks the N-type calcium channels expressed in BHK cells. (+info)
Population dynamics of Cosmoclopius nigroannulatus Stal (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) in tobacco culture.
The role of predators influencing populations of insects considered as pests is extremely important for agroecosystems. The population ecology of Cosmoclopius nigroannulatus, a predatory reduvid associated with the tobacco culture was investigated aiming to study the population dynamics of adults, along the culture cycle. In an experimental plot of approximately 300 m2, in Porto Alegre (30 degrees 0'S; 51 degrees 13'W), RS, Brazil, 270 tobacco plants were grown; each plant identified by alphanumeric coordinates. Using the mark-release-recapture method, daily samplings were done from August to December 1999, and three times a week from this date until April 2000. The adults were captured by hand, marked, sexed and released on the same plant they were captured. The individual number and plant coordinate were registered. Population estimates were analyzed by the Fisher-Ford method. In 107 sampling occasions, 604 individuals were marked, 273 males and 331 females. Three generations of C. nigroannulatus were registered during the culture cycle. The colonizing generation was represented by 14 males and 15 females (a sex ratio of 0.48), the first by 109 males and 137 females (0.44) and the second by 150 males and 179 females (0.46). The estimated daily survival rate varied between generations decreasing from 98% in the colonizing generation to 87% in the second. The observed longevity or permanence time in the experimental area varied significantly among generations, being at about 40 days in the colonizing generation, 13 days in the first and 5 days in the second. It was observed that as the population increases, the survival and/or permanence time in the area decreases, suggesting a relation between this and a decline in the available resources probably with an associated increase in intra-specific competition. (+info)
Detection of Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma rangeli infection by duplex PCR assay based on telomeric sequences.
We used the species specificity and repetitious nature of subtelomeric kinetoplastida sequences to generate a duplex PCR assay for the simultaneous detection of Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma rangeli in experimentally and naturally infected triatomine (Reduviid) bugs and in infected human subjects. The assay was species specific and was capable of detecting 1/20th of T. cruzi and 1/4th of T. rangeli cell equivalents without complementary hybridization. In addition, the PCR-based assay was robust enough for direct application to difficult biological samples such as Reduviid feces or guts and was capable of recognizing all T. cruzi and T. rangeli strains and lineages. Because the assay primers amplify entirely different target sequences, no reaction interference was observed, facilitating future adaptation of this assay to an automated format. (+info)
Glandular areas associated with the male genitalia in Triatoma rubrofasciata (Triatominae, Reduviidae, Hemiptera) and other Reduviidae.
In this paper, glandular areas associated with the phallus in Triatoma rubrofasciata are described and illustrated for the first time. The glandular areas lie in the membrane surrounding the articulatory apparatus. In order to unambiguously define the locality of the respective glandular areas, some features of the pygophore-phallus connection are redescribed. A possible functional context of the gland secretions is discussed. A preliminary study of several other Reduviidae implies that the described glandular areas occur in a wider range of taxa in this group. (+info)
Identification and characterization of a novel factor XIIa inhibitor in the hematophagous insect, Triatoma infestans (Hemiptera: Reduviidae).
Recently, we have cloned several Kazal-type serine protease inhibitors from the midgut of the Triatoma infestans bug. A single gene composed of multi Kazal-type domains, in tandem, encodes these inhibitors. In this work, we describe the purification and characterization of recombinant infestins 3-4 and 4, which are potent factor XIIa inhibitors (KI=67 pM and 128 pM, respectively). We also identified the first native factor XIIa inhibitor from a hematophagous insect. The factor XIIa inhibitory activity of infestin 4 demonstrates extremely efficient anticoagulant activity, prolonging activated partial thromboplastin time by approximately 3 times. Our results suggest that infestins perform a very important role in the T. infestans midgut during meal acquisition and digestion by controlling blood coagulation by means of inhibiting thrombin and factor XIIa. (+info)
DNA evidence of Trypanosoma cruzi in the Chilean wild vector Mepraia spinolai (Hemiptera: Reduviidae).
Molecular evidence showed 46.2% of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in Mepraia spinolai insects from North-Central Chile, which is significantly higher than previous reports of up to 26% by microscopic observation. Our results show similar infection levels among nymphal stages, ranging from 38.3 to 54.1%, indicating that younger nymphs could be as important as older ones in parasite transmission. A cautionary note must be stressed to indicate the potential role of M. spinolai in transmitting T. cruzi in country areas due to the high infection level detected by molecular analysis. (+info)
Internal reproductive organs of Cosmoclopius nigroannulatus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae).
The internal reproductive organs of Cosmoclopius nigroannulatus males and females are described, illustrated and measured. No significant difference was registered among immature and reproductive structures of males and their aspect was also similar. However, in females noteworthy differences both in size and aspect were found. (+info)