Community analysis of biting midges (Culicoides Latr.) on livestock farms in Denmark

Søren Achim Nielsen, Gary Thomas Banta, A.-M. Rasmussen, H. Skovgård

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This study presents descriptive statistics and community analysis of adult biting midges trapped at 16 livestock farms by means of light traps on Zealand and Lolland-Falster, Denmark. A total of 9,047 male and female Culicoides divided into 24 species, were caught. Biotic and abiotic factors ranging from presence of different host species (cattle or sheep/goats), presence of small woody areas or wetlands in the surrounding landscape, and agricultural practice (organic or conventional) were included in the community analysis. Only differences in the Culicoides communities between conventional and organic practices were tested significantly different. Total numbers of Culicoides individuals were higher on the organic farms than on the conventional farms. The larger loads of biting midges on the organic farms may be due to free-ranging animals that attracted the midges on pastures and carried them to the stable environment (the cattle of the conventional farms were held inside the stables). Presence of deciduous trees within 500 m of the farms resulted in higher numbers of Culicoides obsoletus s.s., while presence of wetlands increased the numbers of Culicoides punctatus and Culicoides pulicaris. Furthermore, Culicoides riethi and Culicoides puncticollis (subgenus Monoculicoides) were recorded in high numbers on individual farms. C. puncticollis was found for the first time in Denmark and so far only recorded from Zealand.
Original languageEnglish
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)4525-4533
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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