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Meteorological effects on the daily activity patterns of tabanid biting flies in northern Queensland, Australia

Authors

  • K. VAN HENNEKELER,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • R. E. JONES,

    1. School of Marine and Tropical Biology, Faculty of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • L. F. SKERRATT,

    1. School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
    2. School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • M. O. MUZARI,

    1. School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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  • L. A. FITZPATRICK

    1. School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
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Dr K. van Hennekeler, Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia, Locked Bag, 4 Bentley Delivery Centre, Western Australia 6983, Australia. Tel.: +61 8 9368 3333; Fax: +61 8 94742479; E-mail: Kirsty.Moynihan@agric.wa.gov.au, Kirsty_V@yahoo.com.au

Abstract

Information on the daily activity patterns of tabanid flies is important in the development of strategies that decrease the risk of pathogens transmitted by them. In addition, this information is useful to maximize numbers of tabanids trapped during short-term studies and to target feeding behavior studies of certain tabanid species to their times of peak activity. The current study examined the effects of various meteorological factors on the daily activity patterns of common tropical species of tabanids in north Queensland. Each species studied responded differently to weather factors. Tabanus townsvilli Ricardo (Diptera: Tabanidae) was most active during late morning and early afternoon, whereas Pseudotabanus silvester (Bergroth) and Tabanus pallipennis Macquart were most active in the late afternoon. Tabanus dorsobimaculatus Macquart was most active in the morning and early afternoon.

Data on daily activity patterns of tabanid flies indicates that in an area such as Townsville, North Queensland, where several species of tabanid are present concurrently in high numbers, the overlapping periods of high activity for these species indicate a high risk of pathogen transmission for most of the day (10.00–19.00 hours). Similarly, because each species responds differently to weather variables, only extreme weather conditions are likely to inhibit activity of all species. These data also indicate that for maximal results, trapping and feeding behavior studies should be tailored to the preferred activity period of the species under investigation.

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