Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 25586151
Med. Vet. Entomol. 2015 Jun;29(2):124-8
Physiological and molecular characteristics of natural populations of Culex pipiens Linnaeus, 1758 (Diptera: Culicidae) were investigated to elucidate how this species is potentially involved in the transmission of West Nile virus in Tunisia. A total of 215 Cx. pipiens females from 11 breeding habitats were analysed in the laboratory to estimate autogeny and stenogamy rates. They were tested individually for the locus CQ11 to distinguish between the two Cx. pipiens forms, pipiens and molestus. All tested Cx. pipiens populations were stenogamous. Females from underground breeding sites were all autogeneous, whereas females from above-ground habitats were mostly anautogeneous. Of all the females tested, 59.7% were identified as pipiens, 22.4% as molestus, and 17.9% as hybrid pipiens/molestus. Furthermore, both Cx. pipiens forms and their hybrids were found to co-occur in sympatry in all sites. The results of this study represent the first evidence that both Cx. pipiens forms and their hybrids are present in Tunisia. Because hybrids able to act as bridge vectors are present in all studied habitats, Tunisia can be considered to have a high degree of receptivity for the establishment of West Nile virus zoonotic cycles.