AN ELECTRICALLY HEATED MEMBRANE BLOOD-FEEDING .AN ELECTRICALLY HEATED MEMBRANE BLOOD-FEEDING

AN ELECTRICALLY HEATED MEMBRANE BLOOD-FEEDING .AN ELECTRICALLY HEATED MEMBRANE BLOOD-FEEDING
AN ELECTRICALLY HEATED MEMBRANE BLOOD-FEEDING .AN ELECTRICALLY HEATED MEMBRANE BLOOD-FEEDING
AN ELECTRICALLY HEATED MEMBRANE BLOOD-FEEDING .AN ELECTRICALLY HEATED MEMBRANE BLOOD-FEEDING
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    322 JouRnel oF THE AMERTcAN MoseulTo CoNrnol Assocrerrox VoL. 3, No. 2

    AN ELECTRICALLY HEATED MEMBRANE BLOOD-FEEDINGDEVICE FOR MOSQUITO COLONY MAINTENANCE1

    cARy L. BENZON rNp CHARLES S. APPERSON

    Department of Entomotngy, North carorina state uniuersity, Box 761J, Rateigh, NC 226g5-z6IJ

    The maintenance of most mosquito species inthe laboratory requires periodic feedingof bloocto females. The expense and inconvenience ofmaintaining laboratory animals for this purposehas led to the development of methods fbr feed-ing preserved blood through various natural andartificial membrane materials (Tarshis 19b8.Bailey et al. 1978, Wirtz and Rutledge 19g0.Savage et al. 1980, Thomas et al. 198b). Theresulting convenience and cost reduction canmore than compensate for the reduced egg pro-duction reported by some of these workers. es-pecially in laboratories where mass rearing isdone. In our mosquito rearing facility, wliereproduction demands are usually low, this tech-nique proved to be worthwhile. To decrease han-dling time, devices for holding and filling themembrane, and for maintaining a constantblood temperature were constructed.

    Initially, a coiled glass tube was inserted intothe blood-filled condom, and 40'C tap watercirculated through it. This device required prox-imity of hot and cold running water and, due tounpredictable changes in hot water temperature,needed constant adjustment. Aquarium heatershave been used to maintain the temperature ofa water bath for a specialized membrane blood-feeding device described by Tarshis (19b8), andfor directly warming blood held in a condom (D.A. Dame, personal communication). In the lattercase, use of the heater was discontinued becauseit frequently malfunctioned; however. we re-cently have obtained satisfactory results froman electric heater that was modified as describedbelow.

    As a base for holding both the condom andthe heater, four disks were cut from acrvlic sheet(LuciterN{, DuPont Co., Methacrylate ProductsDivision, Wilmington, DE 19898) and laminatedwith methylene chloride to the configurationshown in Fig. 1. Three holes were drilled throughthe resulting stack: a 2.54 cm (1 in.) diam. holethrough the center to hold the heater tube andtwo 5 mm (3/16 in.) diam. holes on oppositesides of the center hole for filling and drainingthe device. The resulting collar has a grooveformed by the 6 x 36 mm diam. disc in which

    I This is paper number 10890 of the Journal Seriesof the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service,Raleigh, NC 27695-7601. The use oftrade names doesnot constitute endorsement of one product to theexclusion of others.

    the opening of the condom can be held bv arubber band. A 20 cm (8 in.), SO watt. 110 VACautomatic aquarium heater (Fritz pet products.Div. of Fritz Chemical Co., Dallas. TX 782t7\was modified as follows: The plastic screw-clamp assembly was removed and discarded al-lowing removal of the printed circuit board andheating element from the glass tube. The pilotlight and resistor were removed and two 20gauge, insulated wires were soldered in theirplace. These wires were threaded through thesame holes in the rubber plug as the AC powerleads and wrapped to the AC cord for a distanceof 1 m, at which point the remaining AC cordand plug were clipped off. The wires werethreaded into a plastic electrical outlet box inwhich a 600 watt, 120 VAC incandescent dim-mer switch (Lutron Corp., Coopersburg, PA)and one miniature 120 VAC neon lamp (RadioShack #272-707) were mounted. The 20 guagewires were connected to the neon lamp, and thepower cord was wired to an additional 2 m ofIamp cord with the dimmer switch interposed inone ofthe lines.

    The heater was then mounted in the plasticcollar with silicone cement (General ElectricSilicone Windshield and Glass SealrM) such thatthe top 2 cm of the glass tube projected abovethe top of the collar. An additional 3.6 cm diam.collar cut from a single thickness of 3 mm (%thin. nominally) acrylic sheet was cemented 1.bcm from the bottom tip of the tube to preventthe membrane from contacting the heated glass.Sixteen holes of 5 mm (%e in.) diam. were drilledaround the periphery of this collar to allow bloodto flow past it.

    A feeding port similar to that described byBailey et al. (1978) was added to the top of eachof our 30 x 30 x 30 cm aluminum screen cagesby replacing the screen on half of the top with3 mm acrylic sheet. A 22 cm long by 3.8 cmdiam. sleeve of mosquito netting material ex-tended into the cage from a 4.5 cm diam. holein the sheet to support the membrane feedingdevice and prevent escape of mosquitoes.

    Pig blood was collected at a local slaughterhouse and sodium citrate (3.3 g in 25 ml waterper Iiter of blood) was added to prevent coagu-Iation. Since blood treated in this way deterio-rated in 2-5 days under refrigeration, all but a 2day supply was immediately frozen in 200 mlaliquots. Fresh blood was used as is, but ourAedes spp. fed poorly or not at all on blood that

  • Jounxnr, oF THE Ar,rsnrclN Mosquno CoNrnor, AssocrerroN VoL. 3, No. 2

    blood temperature. At the setting we use, theblood temperature oscillates between B7 and39"C as the thermostat cycles on and off. Thepilot light indicates when the thermostat con-tacts are closed and current is reaching theheating element. This is useful for determiningwhen the set temperature has been reached sothat it may be adjusted if necessary. The dimmerswitch is used to limit the temperature of theheating element; otherwise, blood will cake ontothe surface of the glass tube near the element.The device was calibrated with a condom full ofwater and two thermistor probes insertedthrough the fill holes to monitor the temperatureof the water and the glass surface next to theheating coil. Two settings were marked on thedimmer switch. The higher setting limits thetemperature of the glass surface to ca. 55'C, aniis used only in the initial heating of the blood.About 15 min is required to heat the blood from10 to 37'C. The lower setting is the lowest thatwill reliably activate the device when the ther-mostat contacts close, and is used to maintainthe blood at the temperature set with the ther-mostat adjustment knob.

    After reaching the desired temperature, thedevice is inserted into the feeding port of ascreen cage. When fresh blood is used, the uppercollar rests on two 150 ml specimen cups suchthat only the lower two-thirds of the membraneare inserted, thereby preventing some mosqui-toes from engorging on serum after the cellularelements have settled. After use, the device isnormally emptied and cleaned; however we havestored the device, filled with blood, at 2-5"C forup to 48 hr and reused it successfully. When notfilled, the membrane is removed from the device.rinsed and then stored frozen. Individual mem-branes were used for up to six days of feeding.

    The species of mosquitoes successfully main-tained in our laboratory using this bloodfeedingtechnique are Aedes aegpti (L.), Ae. triseriatus(Say), Aruph,elcs qundrimatulatus Say, and Pso-rophara feror (von Humboldt). We have suc-cessfully fed over 1,000 Aedes aegpti within 30minutes. Egg production data was accumulatedonly for Aedes aegypti, where five trials, eachusing ca. 150 females fed on fresh citrated pigblood, yielded a mean of 82.89 (+3.28 SD) eggs/female in the first four days of oviposition. Five

    similar trials using a live rat as a host yielded amean of 88.33 (+t0.S6 SD) eggslfemate. Thedifference is not statistically significant. Wecannot conclude however, that egg production isunaffected by membrane feeding, as the nutri-tillal qualities of rat vs. pig blood are probablydifferent. Pig blood has been shown tb have arelatively high isoleucine concentration whichenhances egg production (Lea et al. 19b8). Acomparison ofpreviously frozen versus fresh pigblood has not been conducted. Thomas et-ai.(1985) reported a significant decrease in fecun-dity of Annplwles ahimanus Wiedemann fe-males when fed on previously frozen versus freshbovine blood.

    The use of this device at our facility has beenmore convenient than the use of laboratorv an-imal hosts or a membrane device *ar-"d- itr "water bath. The total cost for materials. whichwere all available locally, was ca. $30.00.-

    We are grateful to Dr. R. G. Weber, Depart-ment of Entomology, University of Delaware,for valuable suggestions regarding design; to R.C. Axtell, C. Geden and M. Slaff for reviewingthe manuscript; and to D. A. Kramer for pro-ducing the diagram.

    REFERENCES CITED

    Bailey, D. L., D. A. Dame, W. L. Munroe and J. A.Thomas. 1978. Colony maintenance of Annplwlesahimanus Wiedemann by feeding preserved bloodthrough natural membrane. Mosq. News 38:403-408.

    Hosoi, T. 1959. Identification of blood componentswhich induce gorging in the mosquito. J. InsectPhysiol. 3:191-218.

    Lea, A. O., J. B. Dimond and D. M. Del,ong. 1958.Some nutritional factors in egg productionby Aedesuegpti. Proc. 1fth Int. Congr. Entomol. 3:793-796.

    Savage, K. E., R. E. Lowe, D. L. Bailey and D. A.Dame. 1980. Mass rearing of. Arnphclns albimanus.Mosq. News 40:185-190.

    Tarshis, I. B. 1958. Feeding tuchniques for bloodsuck-ing arthropods. Proc. 10th Int. Congr. Entomol.3:767-784.

    Thomas, J. A., D. L. Bailey and D. A. Dame. 1985.Maintenance of Arcphcl,es ahimanw on frouenblood. J. Am. Mosq. Control Assoc. 1:538-540.

    Wirtz, R. A. and L. C. Rutledge. 1980. Reconstitutedcollagen sausage casings for the blood feeding ofmosquitoes. Mosq. News 40:,287 -288.