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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
On-line version ISSN 1678-8060
WISNIVESKY-COLLI, Cristina et al. Ecological characteristics of Triatoma patagonica at the Southern limit of its distribution (Chubut, Argentina). Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz [online]. 2003, vol.98, n.8, pp. 1077-1081. ISSN 1678-8060. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0074-02762003000800018.
This study aimed at identifying the ecological characteristics of Triatoma patagonica Del Ponte 1929 (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) and evaluating the epidemiological importance of this species at its southernmost distribution limit. We carried out two surveys in the Province of Chubut, in summer and in spring, 1998. In each survey, we interviewed local health care agents for triatomine recognition and reports of the bugs, followed by entomological searches in houses and peridomestic and silvatic biotopes. The presence of T. patagonica was confirmed in two of the five localities indicated by interview. In agreement with previous studies, all these positive localities were east of the 11°C isotherm, within the Monte phytogeographic province. Triatomine abundance and infestation levels (in peridomiciles and peridomestic biotopes) were higher in summer than in spring, possibly reflecting adverse environmental conditions such as flood and cold winter weather. In the silvatic environment, we found three adult bugs under rocks in summer. In peridomestic sites bugs were only found associated with chickens, which were also the only blood meal source identified. Infection by Trypanosoma cruzi was not detected. We conclude that T. patagonica at its southernmost distribution limit does not represent a risk to public health due to its low abundance, lack of association with humans, and absence of T. cruzi infection.
Keywords : Triatoma patagonica; Triatoma infestans ; Trypanosoma cruzi; biotopes; silvatic triatomines; Patagonia.