Identification and Analysis of Potential Vectorial Capacity in Post-hurricane Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) Obtained in Brazos County, Texas


  • Abigail Eden Malthaner Texas A&M University


In late August, Hurricane Harvey devastated Harris County and surrounding areas, leaving behind pools of stagnant water and creating the perfect conditions for mosquitoes to thrive. Flood-borne mosquitoes, such as those belonging to the genus Aedes, are commonly found in the Southern Texas region and are known to vector harmful diseases such as Zika. Therefore, concerns of tropical disease outbreaks in affected areas were a topic of discussion among invested individuals. The conditions of the mosquito population in Brazos County, located within 100 miles of Harris County, were explored in this study to determine the extent of the impact Hurricane Harvey had on the area. Due to the frequent rainfall and minor flooding Brazos County experienced during the hurricane, an increase in flood-borne mosquitoes was expected. Mosquito larvae were collected within a month after Hurricane Harvey from four different locations in the Brazos County area. Within these four locations, four different species were identified: Aedes vexans, Culex quinquefasciatus, Psorophora columbiae, and Culex coronator. Aedes vexans, Culex quinquefasciatus, and Psorophora columbiae are all commonly found in Texas. However, Culex coronator is not native to the Southern Texas region. When present, C. coronator and C. quinquefasciatus are known to vector West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis in Texas. A. vexans, a flood-borne mosquito species, is known to be a potential vector of Zika virus. Additionally, P. columbiae is a primary vector of encephalitis.


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