Skip to main content

Data from: Sex-biased avian host use by arbovirus vectors

Cite this dataset

Burkett-Cadena, Nathan D.; Bingham, Andrea M.; Unnasch, Thomas R. (2015). Data from: Sex-biased avian host use by arbovirus vectors [Dataset]. Dryad.


Prevalence of arthropod-borne parasites often differs drastically between host sexes. This sex-related disparity may be related to physiological (primarily hormonal) differences that facilitate or suppress replication of the pathogen in host tissues. Alternately, differences in pathogen prevalence between host sexes may be owing to differential exposure to infected vectors. Here, we report on the use of PCR-based assays recognizing bird sex chromosomes to investigate sex-related patterns of avian host use from field-collected female mosquitoes from Florida, USA. Mosquitoes took more bloodmeals from male birds (64.0% of 308 sexed samples) than female birds (36.0%), deviating significantly from a hypothetical 1:1 sex ratio. In addition, male-biased host use was consistent across mosquito species (Culex erraticus (64.4%); Culex nigripalpus (61.0%) and Culiseta melanura (64.9%)). Our findings support the hypothesis that sex-biased exposure to vector-borne pathogens contributes to disparities in parasite/pathogen prevalence between the sexes. While few studies have yet to investigate sex-biased host use by mosquitoes, the methods used here could be applied to a variety of mosquito-borne disease systems, including those that affect health of humans, domestic animals and wildlife. Understanding the mechanisms that drive sex-based disparities in host use may lead to novel strategies for interrupting pathogen/parasite transmission.

Usage notes