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Keywords:

  • Culicoides impunctatus;
  • larval aggregations;
  • geostatistics;
  • Scotland

Summary

The spatial distribution of Culicoides impunctatus Goetghebuer (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) larvae was sampled at a site in western Scotland, and geostatistical analyses were used to quantify spatial dependencies. Nested sampling and analysis indicated that most of the spatial variance occurred within distances of 160–640 cm, levelling off at distances > 640 cm. Semivariograms for transformed data from three 100 m × 100 m grids showed similar, isotropic patterns for larval counts, soil organic content, soil water content and the distribution of Juncus spp. rushes, with the variance increasing with separation distance. High levels of significance were associated with power models used to describe the semivariograms, which was indicative of the absence of a plateau (or ‘sill’) in the respective data. Correlation analysis of transformed data revealed significantly positive relationships between larval counts and soil pH, soil percentage organic content, soil percentage water content and also the distribution of Sphagnum spp., Juncus spp. and Myrica gale. There were also significantly negative relationships between larval counts and the distribution of Pteridium aquilinum and all mosses other than Sphagnum spp. The results suggest a far more structured and predictable pattern of C. impunctatus larval sites than previous studies and are discussed in relation to their application in localized Culicoides control and to studies of the mechanisms determining the spatial distribution of C. impunctatus larvae.