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Keywords:

  • Blood consumption index;
  • blood meal;
  • food resource use;
  • reproductive parameters;
  • triatomine

ABSTRACT:

Triatoma patagonica (Del Ponte, 1929) (Hemiptera-Reduviidae) is a peridomestic vector of Chagas disease that has been frequently found colonizing peridomestic structures in several localities in Argentina. Studying relationships between feeding and reproductive factors is important because these traits regulate population density and define vectorial capacity. Since T. patagonica can circulate among peridomestic structures taking blood from both bird and mammal hosts, we evaluated the extent to which different blood meal sources affect food resource use and reproductive parameters. We used 5th instar nymphs and females that fed on either guinea pigs or pigeons to estimate food resource use. We estimated reproductive parameters in adults that fed on these sources. Nymphs and adults showed differences in blood consumption between feeding sources. Females fed on pigeons ingested more blood and needed a higher amount of blood to produce an egg than females fed on guinea pigs. There were no differences in the number of eggs laid and hatched between insects fed on different feeding sources. The higher amount of blood ingested and consumed by T. patagonica fed on pigeons did not translate into higher fecundity or fertility. The lower amount of guinea pig blood ingested was offset by its high nutritional quality.