Biological cycle and preliminary data on vectorial competence of Triatoma boliviana in laboratory conditions

Pamela Durán, Edda Siñani, Stéphanie Depickère

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With more than 140 potential vectors of Chagas disease, it is important to better know the biology and especially the vectorial capacity of the triatomine species which live in the surroundings of human dwellings. In Bolivia where 17 triatomine species are reported, the principal vector is Triatoma infestans. In some valleys of the department of La Paz where T. infestans is not present, a new species (Triatoma boliviana) was described in 2007. This species lives in a sylvatic environment not far away from the dwellings, and occasionally some individuals are found inside the houses. This study was carried out to describe the biological cycle of T. boliviana and to determine its vectorial competence. The development of a cohort of 95 nymphs of first instar (N1) was followed through nymphal instars and adult stage until death in laboratory (22. °C). They were fed twice a week on an immobilized mouse. The median egg-to-adult development time was 8.4 months. The mortality by nymphal instar was lower than 7% except for N1 (67%) and N5 (18%). All nymph instars needed at least two feedings to molt (until six feedings for N5). The differentiation of a nymph into a female or a male could not be detected until the fifth instar for which the food intake was greater for a nymph developing into a female. Adults fed about once a week. The adult life span was around 400 days. The fecundity was 4.2 eggs/female/week, with a hatching rate of 50% and a hatching time of 39 days. In the same conditions, T. infestans showed a similar fecundity but a greater hatching rate and hatching time. A trial for rearing the adults at a higher temperature (26. °C) showed a drastic fall in the fecundity and in the hatching rate. The vectorial competence was analyzed for fifth instars and adults by three parameters: the ability to feed on human beings, the capacity to be infected by T. cruzi and the postfeeding defecation delay. Results showed a relatively high vectorial competence: (1) insects fed easily on the tested human being; (2) 100% of the specimens became infected by T. cruzi just by one infected meal; and (3) although the adults defecated after a median postfeeding delay greater than that of T. infestans, results on N5 suggest that they could be as good vectors as T. infestans males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-129
Number of pages6
JournalActa Tropica
StatePublished - Dec 2014


  • Chagas disease
  • Defecation index
  • Laboratory rearing
  • Life cycle
  • Triatoma boliviana
  • Vectorial competence


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